Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher and Michelle Williams’s role as Marilyn Monroe have put them head-to-head at this year’s Baftas.

US actress Meryl is up for best actress for her portrayal of the former British prime minister.

British actress Tilda Swinton is also up for the award for her part in We Need To Talk About Kevin, alongside Viola Davis for The Help, Berenice Bejo for top-nominated film The Artist, and Williams for her role in My Week With Marilyn.

Meryl has already won a Golden Globe for her role in The Iron Lady, and is tipped for an Oscar.

Silent film The Artist has scooped the largest number of nominations for the Orange British Academy Film Awards, with 12.

Cold War thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy follows with 11, including a leading actor nod for Gary Oldman.

His rivals at the awards, the biggest event in the British film calendar, include heartthrobs Brad Pitt for Moneyball and George Clooney for The Descendants.

Irish-German star Michael Fassbender is also up for leading actor for Shame, the movie about sex addiction, and French actor Jean Dujardin is nominated for The Artist.

Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s first children’s film, has nine nominations, including best director.

My Week With Marilyn has six nominations and The Help and War Horse are each nominated five times.