"Atonement" rules UK's BAFTA nominations

Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:17am EST
 
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By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) - Film romance "Atonement" dominated the field when nominations were announced on Wednesday for the annual BAFTA film awards.

The World War Two epic about two lovers torn apart by a family betrayal boasted 14 nominations for the British Academy Film Awards with its stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy both up for top acting honors.

"Atonement" is also up for Best Film but could face some tough competition from Ridley Scott's "American Gangster," the grim crime thriller "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood" and "The Lives Of Others."

In the Leading Actor category, McAvoy faces a sizeable challenge from Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrays an oil prospector who gains enormous wealth in "There Will Be Blood."

Also up for Leading Actor are Hollywood heart-throb George Clooney for "Michael Clayton," Viggo Mortensen for "Eastern Promise" and Ulrich Muhe for "The Lives of Others."

Keira Knightley faces an equally tough battle for the Leading Actress award.

She is pitted against Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," veteran star Julie Christie as an Alzheimer's sufferer in "Away from Her," Marion Cotillard for her haunting portrayal of singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose" and Ellen Page for "Juno."

Amid fears that a writers' strike could jeopardize this year's Oscars ceremony, the red carpet BAFTA show at London's Royal Opera House on February 10 could attract plenty of Hollywood glamour.   Continued...

 
<p>A scene from "Atonement". The film dominated the field when nominations were announced on Wednesday for the annual BAFTA film awards. REUTERS/Focus Features/Handout</p>