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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 12:32 GMT
Awards put UK stars in limelight
Clive Owen
Owen is also nominated for best supporting actor Bafta
British actors Clive Owen and Kate Winslet are leading the UK contingent finding success with Golden Globe awards and Bafta nominations.

Clive Owen took the supporting best actor Golden Globe for his role in relationship drama Closer.

Kate Winslet has two Bafta nominations for best actress.

Also at the Globes, Ian McShane won best TV actor for US show Deadwood, and Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart won best original song for Alfie.

Imelda Staunton, hotly tipped for her performance in Vera Drake, lost out on a Golden Globe but is back in the running with a Bafta nod for best actress.

She has already picked up a host of awards for playing a 1950s abortionist, including a win at the Venice Film Festival.

Tight race

Winslet's two nominations for best actress are for her performances in Finding Neverland and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Kat Winslet
Winslet could see the vote split between her two nominated performances
US actress Hilary Swank, already a multiple-award winner this year for Million Dollar Baby, is not on the Bafta shortlist, meaning Winslet and Staunton have a clearer run at the title.

Such has been the tight race between Staunton and Swank in the race for gongs so far that the National Society of Film Critics in the US gave its best actress award to both of them.

Both are widely expected to receive Oscar nominations on 25 January.

Although Bafta has a reputation for rewarding British talent both the major acting honours last year went to US actors - Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray for Lost in Translation.

American contingent

Bafta does have a dedicated category for British films called the Alexander Korda Award, ensuring some films that have been overlooked get recognition. Last year this category was won by documentary feature Touching the Void.

Among the contenders this year are Dead Man's Shoes, which stars its co-writer Paddy Considine and ex-boxer Gary Stretch. It has already won the top prize at the British Film Festival held in Dinard, France.

Big-budget movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third in the Potter series, is also nominated alongside Vera Drake, My Summer of Love and the comedy horror Shaun of the Dead.

Imelda Staunton
Imelda Staunton has won several plaudits for Vera Drake
Director Mike Leigh, who has a reputation for making very British dramas, is once again nominated for Vera Drake, having been previously nominated for five films and winning once for Secrets and Lies.

But he finds himself up against a largely US contingent in the best director category, including Martin Scorsese for The Aviator and Michael Mann for Collateral, who studied at the London Film School as did Leigh.

Vera Drake has also secured supporting actor nominations for Heather Craney and Phil Davis, who have both worked with Leigh on a number of his films.

The Baftas will be handed out on 12 February, two weeks before the climax of the awards season at the Oscars - where last year British success was non-existent.



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