Avatar, The Hurt Locker and An Education get loved up by BAFTA

The luvies at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts have just announced their nominations for this year’s BAFTAs and surprises are in fairly short supply.

James Cameron’s eco-friendly sci-fi blockbuster Avatar looks set to be one of the this year’s biggest gong recipients having already scooped the Best Director and Best Film Drama awards at the Golden Globes, it’s now been lined up for BAFTA glory with eight nominations.

That said, Cameron’s groundbreaking CGI epic will be going head-to-head with Kathryn Bigelow’s action-led Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker and the British coming-of-age tale An Education, both of which have also scooped eight nominations apiece. And in a sublime little twist of fate, Cameron will be duking it out for the Best Director award with ex-wife Bigelow, as well as Inglourious Basterds‘ Quentin Tarantino, Education’s Lone Scherfig, and District 9‘s Neill Blomkamp.

Also in the frame for big wins are the South African sci-fi mockumentary District 9 with seven nods; Quentin Tarantino’s wartime romp Inglourious Basterds and air-miles romance Up in the Air with six; and iconic French fashion biopic Coco Before Chanel, the John Lennon early years tale Nowhere Boy, heart-breaking New York story Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Pixar’s latest animated charmer Up all with four nominations.

The Best Actor award is being contested by Hollywood A-listers George Clooney (for Up in the Air) and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart); young gun Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker); and our own Andy Serkis (as Ian Dury in Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) and Colin Firth (A Single Man).

But there’s serious upset potential in the Best Actress category with usual suspect Meryl Streep (for Julie & Julia) competing against a string of new or newish faces including Audrey Tautou (Coco Before Chanel), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones), and Gabourey Sidibe whose rivetting debut as Precious has been the talk of the festival circuit.

You can check out a full list of nominees here.

With the ceremony due to be held at The Royal Opera House on February 21st it’s only four and a bit nail-biting weeks before the nominees discover who Britain’s film industry luvies loved the most.

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