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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 15:23 GMT
Gardener up for 10 Bafta awards
Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener
Fiennes and Weisz are nominated for Bafta acting awards
British thriller The Constant Gardener is leading the field at the Orange Bafta film awards with 10 nominations.

The John le Carre adaptation picked up nominations for best film, best actor for Ralph Fiennes and best actress for Golden Globe winner Rachel Weisz.

Ang Lee's poignant love story Brokeback Mountain and racial drama Crash both received nine nominations.

The awards ceremony takes place in London on 19 February, hosted by Stephen Fry.

Clooney nominated

The Constant Gardener, Brokeback Mountain and Crash were nominated in the best film category, alongside Capote and Good Night, and Good Luck.

Good Night, and Good Luck received six nominations, including best original screenplay and best director for George Clooney.

George Clooney in Good Night, and Good Luck

Clooney is shortlisted for a total of four Baftas, including best supporting actor nominations for Good Night, and Good Luck and oil thriller Syriana.

Joe Wright's critically acclaimed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice also received six nominations, as did Rob Marshall's adaptation of best-selling novel Memoirs of a Geisha.

Based on a John le Carre novel, The Constant Gardener follows diplomat Justin Quayle (Fiennes) as he attempts to get to the bottom of his activist wife's death in northern Kenya.

Fiennes faces competition in the leading actor category from Oscar favourite Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote.

Producer Simon Channing-Williams said everyone involved in The Constant Gardener was "thrilled" to receive so many Bafta nominations.

It is very stiff competition this year so I think it would be unwise to be confident of winning
The Constant Gardener producer Simon Channing-Williams

"But it is very stiff competition this year so I think it would be unwise to be confident of winning," he said.

"When I acquired the rights to the novel five years ago I had no idea that Africa and the pharmaceutical industry would remain so heavily in the news by the time of the film's release," Mr Channing-Williams said.

"Everybody worked incredibly hard to deliver the passion of that original story to the screen."

But he said The Constant Gardener's Bafta nominations did not make him any more sure of its Oscar success.

"They are completely different animals," he said. "I will be just as nervous waiting to hear the Oscar nominations as I was this morning."

Dame Judi Dench in Mrs Henderson Presents
It was like being given a wonderful meal - full of the things you love most
Dame Judi Dench on Mrs Henderson Presents
Joaquin Phoenix - who stars as the late Johnny Cash in Walk the Line - and David Strathairn as broadcaster Ed Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck are also nominated in the leading actor category.

Weisz, who won best supporting actress at the Golden Globes on Sunday, vies with Dame Judi Dench, for British comedy Mrs Henderson Presents.

They compete in the leading actress category against Charlize Theron for North Country, Ziyi Zhang for Memoirs of a Geisha and Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line.

Dame Judi said she was "very pleased" to receive her 10th Bafta film nomination, adding that making Mrs Henderson Presents had been "hugely good fun".

"I knew I wanted to tell the story because I knew about Vivian Van Damme and the Windmill, but I didn't know about Laura Henderson," said Dench of her role as the woman who brought nude theatre to London.

NUMBER OF NOMINATIONS
Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon in Crash
Constant Gardener - 10
Brokeback Mountain - 9
Crash - 9 [pictured]
Good Night, And Good Luck - 6
Memoirs of a Geisha -6
Pride and Prejudice - 6
Capote - 5
"And then it was working with Bob Hoskins, who I had never worked with before - except radio. It was like being given a wonderful meal - full of the things you love most."

In the best director category, Golden Globe winner Ang Lee goes head to head with Clooney, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles for The Constant Gardener, Bennet Miller for Capote and Paul Haggis for Crash.

Crash also received three nominations in the supporting acting categories - Matt Dillon and Don Cheadle for supporting actor, and Thandie Newton for supporting actress.

Haggis, the screenwriter behind last year's Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby, also received a nomination in the original screenplay category with co-writer Bobby Moresco.

Fellow nominees include Mrs Henderson Presents, Good Night, and Good Luck, Cinderella Man and last year's Oscar contender Hotel Rwanda.

Brokeback Mountain, adapted from a short story by E Annie Proulx, leads the contenders for adapted screenplay. Rivals include Capote, The Constant Gardener, A History of Violence and Pride and Prejudice.

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
The Ang Lee film dominated this year's Golden Globe awards
Pride and Prejudice is also a contender for best British film, and picked up a nomination for director Joe Wright for the Carl Foreman award, which recognises a special achievement by a British director, writer or producer. Britain's Brenda Blethyn received a nomination in the supporting actress category for her role as Mrs Bennet, but Keira Knightley missed out on a widely anticipated leading actress nomination.

Blethyn said: "Of course I'm thrilled to be included and delighted for Joe (Wright, the director) but was sad that Keira was not nominated as I thought she was exceptional and carried the film."

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit received just one nomination for the Alexander Korda award for best British film.

"Both Steve Box (co-director) and myself are absolutely delighted that Wallace and Gromit has been nominated for a Bafta," said Nick Park, who has won three previous Baftas for his work on the "claymation" duo.

Kung Fu Hustle, Joyeux Noel, Le Grand Voyage, Tsotsi and The Beat That My Heart Skipped compete in the foreign film category.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear Barry Norman's view of the nominations



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