The cream of the British movie industry are out in force, along with worldwide talent, to celebrate the best in global cinema at the Bafta Film Awards.
Hot favourite to win big this year is 12 Years A Slave, which is up for Best Film, Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Music (Hans Zimmer), and other gongs including Best Cinematography. However, the likes of American Hustle and Captain Phillips could give Steve McQueen’s drama a run for its money.
There’s no shortage of quality in the Outstanding British Film section either. Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi blockbuster Gravity is up against Clio Barnard’s award-winner The Selfish Giant, as well as biopics Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom; drama Philomena, which was co-written by Steve Coogan; Ron Howard’s James Hunt/Niki Lauda drama Rush, and making-of-Mary-Poppins saga Saving Mr Banks. The latter was penned by Kelly Marcel, who is one of the names nominated for the Outstanding Debut Award, along with Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson, the writers of much-loved music drama Good Vibrations.
There’s a strong chance Gravity will romp home with Best Visual Effects, though Iron Man 3, Pacific Rim and Star Trek Into Darkness all delivered some eye-popping visuals in 2013; fellow contender The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was also dazzling - in places.
We have no idea who will win what, but we can tell you that Helen Mirren will be picking up the Bafta Fellowship award for her impressive body of work.
As ever there will be a tribute to some of the great film-makers and stars we lost over the past year, including the much-missed Peter O’Toole, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Mel Smith and James Gandolfini.
Host Stephen Fry (one of the best things about the aforementioned Hobbit sequel) will be guiding us through the proceedings from the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.
This is his ninth time fronting the bash, and the fact last year’s show was one of the highest rated since 2004 means he must be doing something right.
“I am really thrilled and honoured to have been asked to host the EE British Academy Film Awards again,” he remarks.
Despite always suffering from nerves before such a prestigious event, and being terrified that something will go wrong and he’ll make a fool of himself, Fry looks forward to this annual event as much as any movie lover because he’s so passionate about the medium.
“Film is one of the arts that most spreads the essence of our identity around the world,” he explains. “Our admiration and appreciation of global film-making ensures that the EE British Academy Film Awards sit comfortably on the world stage of film awards events honouring the best of the best.”
So plump up the cushions, charge your glasses and settle down for one of the most star-studded nights in the showbiz calendar.
BAFTA FILM AWARDS, BBC1, SUNDAY 9PM