'Grand Budapest Hotel,' 'Birdman' among leading contenders for British Academy Film Awards

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LONDON — Comic confection "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is the surprise front-runner for the British Academy Film Awards, while English acting darlings Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch are competing in the best-actor category.

Wes Anderson's "Hotel" received 11 nominations Friday, including best picture and best director. Ralph Fiennes was nominated for best actor as the unflappable concierge of a chaotic European hostelry.

Acting nominees also include Michael Keaton, as a washed-up actor aiming for a comeback in "Birdman." The movie was nominated in 10 categories, as was "The Theory of Everything," which stars Redmayne as physicist Stephen Hawking.

Redmayne said his acting nomination was "beyond imagination."

The other best-actor nominees are Cumberbatch, who plays World War II code-breaker Alan Turing in nine-times nominated "The Imitation Game," and Jake Gyllenhaal for "Nightcrawler."

Best-actress contenders, announced Friday, are Felicity Jones for "The Theory of Everything," Amy Adams for "Big Eyes," Julianne Moore for "Still Alice," Rosamund Pike for "Gone Girl" and Reese Witherspoon for "Wild."

Other front-runners include Richard Linklater's decade-spanning "Boyhood" and Damien Chazelle's drumming drama "Whiplash," with five nominations each.

Winners of the awards, known as BAFTAs, will be announced at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 8.

The British prizes are seen as an indicator of likely success at Hollywood's Academy Awards, whose nominees are announced next week.

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