“The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Darkest Hour,” lead the race for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ movie awards, regarded as a bellwether for the Oscars.

“The Shape of Water” received 12 noms, the most of any film, including the coveted Best Film award. Guillermo del Toro is nominated for both Director and Original Screenplay, Sally Hawkins for Leading Actress and Octavia Spencer for Supporting Actress.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and “Darkest Hour” had nine noms apiece. The former is up for Best Film and Frances McDormand for Leading Actress. Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson are both nominated for Supporting Actor for their roles. Martin McDonagh is nominated for both Director and Original Screenplay.

The nominations were unveiled Tuesday at BAFTA’s Piccadilly headquarters in London by Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones”) and Letitia Wright (“Black Panther”) and were live-streamed on Facebook.

As expected, veteran British actor Gary Oldman, widely considered the front-runner for the Oscar, is one of the best-actor nominees for his performance in “Darkest Hour.” Oldman won a Golden Globe award Sunday for his acclaimed portrayal of wartime leader Winston Churchill. “Darkest Hour” also received Best Film, Outstanding British Film nods among others.

British actor Joanna Lumley, best known for “Absolutely Fabulous” was also named as the new host of the awards, replacing longtime emcee Stephen Fry, who has stepped down. She told  BAFTA she accepted the invitation to host “indecently quickly.”

In her opening remarks BAFTA chair Jane Lush lauded Oprah Winfrey for her Golden Globes speech and Seth Meyers for “skewering” the subject of harassment and equality as host. She said it was a watershed moment for the film business and BAFTA wholeheartedly endorses the move to address these issues, “it’s not me too, it’s we too,” she said.

The U.K. is coming off a record year at the box office, with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” helping to power the market to its 2017 total of £1.3 billion ($1.76 billion). Last year’s BAFTA best film winner, “La La Land,” was among the top 10 earners, out of a list dominated by Disney titles and tentpole releases.

(Excerpt) Read More in: Variety

BAFTA Film Awards: The Shape of Water,’ ‘Three Billboards,’ ‘Darkest Hour’ Lead Nominations

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