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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 20:04 GMT
Stars arrive for Baftas
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman signed autographs for the crowd
Stars have arrived at the 54th British Academy film awards, which pit musical Chicago against epic Gangs of New York.

Catherine Zeta Jones, wearing a low-cut black dress, and husband Michael Douglas arrived at the Odeon, Leicester Square, taking a break from their privacy case against Hello! magazine at the High Court.

"I'm thrilled to be here, it's the cherry on the cake for me," Zeta Jones told reporters. "We've all worked so hard, to be nominated is great."

Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore: Questioned about her skimpy dress
The heavily pregnant actress, one of the British hopes with her nomination for best supporting actress for Chicago, joked her baby would either come this evening or at the Oscars next month.

Her US co-star Renee Zellweger, nominated for best actress, said her own nomination was "crazy, but I'm not complaining".

Hollywood actress Julianne Moore, Bafta nominated for best supporting actress for The Hours, was also one of the first to arrive and signed several autographs.

"It gets more glamorous every year," she said of the Bafta ceremony, adding she was nervous about the awards because of the increased media limelight.

Director Stephen Daldry arrived at the same time as Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, completing the contingent of nominees for British film The Hours.

Renee Zellweger
Renee Zellweger posed for the cameras
Daldry kissed his leading ladies on the cheek before saying he was delighted with their nominations.

Kidman looked stunning in a long white strapless gown, while Streep wore sleek black trousers with a white tailored jacket.

Sir Michael Caine, nominated for best actor, said as he looked around at the reception in Leicester Square: "It's just like being at the Oscars."

Halle Berry, one of the few actresses in a winter coat, spent several minutes talking to the cheering crowds.

Berry said she decided to bring her coat, together with an umbrella, because she was so cold at last year's Baftas, which were also held in February.

Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas: Said he had advised his wife to take it easy

Luckily for organisers though the rain held off, preventing a repeat of last year's problems when stars had to tip-toe down a soggy red carpet.

UK best actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis and director Martin Scorsese, who arrived together, are both nominated for Gangs of New York.

Scorsese told reporters he was delighted at his nomination: "I am absolutely thrilled because the British film industry is very important to me."

Day-Lewis, who came out of retirement to star in the movie, said he was delighted that the film had been so "thoroughly appreciated".

Halle Berry
Halle Berry: Has already won an Oscar for her role in Monster's Ball
Chicago and Gangs of New York have 12 nominations each, with The Hours close behind with 11.

Challenging Chicago, Gangs of New York and The Hours for best film are The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Pianist, which on Saturday won France's top honours at the Cesars, the country's equivalent of the Oscars.

Caine and Day-Lewis face Adrien Brody for The Pianist, Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt) and Nicolas Cage (Adaptation) for best actor.

Kidman and Streep are nominated for best actress opposite Salma Hayek for Frida, Berry (Monster's Ball) and Renee Zellweger (Chicago).

Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody: Won a Cesar on Saturday for The Pianist
Fighting it out for best British film are Bend it Like Beckham, Dirty Pretty Things, The Hours, The Magdalene Sisters and The Warrior.

Last year's awards ceremony made headlines when best actor winner Russell Crowe angrily confronted a TV producer after his acceptance speech was cut.



The BBC's David Sillito
"Two films emerged as the front runners"



Renee Zellweger In Pictures
The stars and dresses at the 54th Bafta ceremony

Other winners

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