Entertainment & Arts

Baftas 2015: British hopefuls arrive on red carpet

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Media captionStars arrive for the Bafta ceremony

British hopefuls, including Eddie Redmayne and Rosamund Pike, have begun arriving at the Bafta Film Awards.

Stars on the red carpet at London's Royal Opera House also include homegrown nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley alongside US stars Michael Keaton and Reese Witherspoon.

The London ceremony, hosted by Stephen Fry, is the biggest awards event in the British film calendar.

Surreal comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel leads the pack with 11 nominations.

You can follow coverage of the award ceremony on our live page.

Showbiz satire Birdman and Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything are each nominated in 10 categories.

Redmayne, who plays physicist Hawking is the bookies' favourite to take the best actor award - though he faces tough competition from Birdman lead Keaton, as well as his rival and friend Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.

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Media captionBest actor nominee Eddie Redmayne said he "poured his heart" into The Theory of Everything, when he tackled the role of Professor Stephen Hawking

Speaking on the red carpet about his overnight success, Redmayne said he was "just trying to put one foot in front of the other... and enjoy it".

"The most difficult thing was the fear of upsetting Stephen [Hawking], or Jane, or the children. When we heard that they enjoyed [the film], it was the most wonderful thing," he said.

"Their story is extraordinary, and it deserved to be told properly."

Cumberbatch, who plays computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing, has been widely nominated across the film season, but was piped to the post at the Golden Globes by both Keaton and Redmayne.

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Media captionAlan Turing's family have been "incredibly supportive" of Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of the computer scientist in The Imitation Game, the actor said

On the red carpet, he called for "more diversity" among award nominees, giving a particular nod to Selma star David Oyelowo, who was a surprise omission among this year's Bafta nominees.

Cumberbatch described British star Oyelowo's performance playing Dr Martin Luther King Jr as "flawless" and "absolute performance": "I just wish he was amongst our number," he said.

It follows a short-lived controversy last week which saw Cumberbatch criticised for using the term "coloured" in an interview on US television.

Cumberbatch later apologised prompting Oyelowo to come to his defence, calling the attacks in the press "ridiculous".

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Media captionFelicity Jones speaks of her pride in The Theory of Everything

The Imitation Game, about war-time efforts to crack the German Enigma codes, has nine nominations; while coming-of-age epic Boyhood and jazz drumming drama Whiplash are each nominated five times.

Pike, who is nominated for her role in Gone Girl, is among the British hopefuls in the best actress category, alongside Felicity Jones and Knightley. On the red carpet, she described her role as "a wonderful cocktail of a woman to sink my teeth into".

Fellow nominee Jones, whom co-star Redmayne described as "formidable", told BBC News she was "so proud" of The Theory of Everything, "I could just keep talking about it forever."

However, US actress Julianne Moore is tipped to win the trophy for her performance as a linguistics professor with early-onset Alzheimer's.

The Baftas take place exactly two weeks before the Academy Awards in Hollywood and can often be an indicator of who will go on to win an Oscar.

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Image caption Knightley is nominated opposite Cumberbatch for her role in The Imitation Game

The last six winners of the Bafta for best film have gone on to win the best picture Oscar. Last year's winner, 12 Years a Slave, won two Baftas and three Oscars.

Amanda Berry, Bafta chief executive, said 69% of Bafta and Oscar winners over the last 10 years have been same: "I think that makes us enough of a predictor to be relevant, but not too much the same to be a carbon copy."

Full list of nominees

Dan Higgins, editor of Pure Movies, predicts the best film race will be a battle between Richard Linklater's Boyhood - which was shot with the same cast over 12 years - and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman.

"Boyhood is a gimmick film, while Birdman's technical brilliance is unbelievable," said Higgins. "But I think Boyhood will get it."

The best British film category sees marmalade-loving bear Paddington up against Under the Skin's beautiful alien vampire in the form of Scarlett Johansson.

The betting suggests a win for The Imitation Game. "It would be a shock if Paddington won, and I'd love there to be a shock, but I don't think it'll be that one," added Higgins.

Mike Leigh, whose critically-lauded Mr Turner was frozen out of the main categories, will receive the Bafta Fellowship for his "outstanding and exceptional contribution to film". BBC Films, in its 25th year, will receive the outstanding British contribution to cinema award.

Rock band Kasabian will open proceedings at the Royal Opera House with a live performance.

The ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD at 21.00 GMT on Sunday. A special red carpet show will be broadcast by BBC Three, hosted by Edith Bowman at 20.30 GMT. There will be live coverage of the awards on the BBC website from 18:30 GMT.

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