BAFTA chair Majumdar has said that the academy stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, as the awards ceremony is held in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Showbiz icon Shirley Bassey, 85, who has sung three Bond movie themes, is to open the ceremony.
Showbiz icon Shirley Bassey, 85, who has sung three Bond movie themes, is to open the ceremony. (Reuters Archive)

London hosts the star-studded BAFTA film awards with sci-fi epic "Dune" and dark Western "The Power of the Dog" leading the nominations at the red carpet event held under the cloud of the conflict in Ukraine.

Despite the world's sombre mood over Moscow's ongoing onslaught, Sunday’s awards will be a celebration of freedom of a different kind as they are held in person for the first time since Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar said earlier this month: "we stand in solidarity with all Ukrainian people bravely fighting for their country and we share their hope for a return to peace".

Denis Villeneuve's "Dune" and Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog" lead nominations at the Royal Albert Hall ceremony hosted by Australian actress Rebel Wilson, with 11 and eight nods respectively.

They are vying with homegrown-favourite Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical "Belfast", Adam McKay's end-of-world comedy "Don't Look Up", and Paul Thomas Anderson's 1970s nostalgia-driven "Licorice Pizza" for the best film prize.

"Belfast" received a total of six nominations for its coming-of-age account of Northern Ireland religious tensions in 1969, while Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond in "No Time to Die" has five, as does "Licorice Pizza" and Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" remake.

Showbiz icon Shirley Bassey, 85, who has sung three Bond movie themes, is to open the ceremony with a celebration of 60 years of the mega-franchise.

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BAFTAS carving out their own role

Benedict Cumberbatch's troubled cowboy in Campion's drama is nominated for best actor, along with Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in "Don't Look Up", while Will Smith is seen as a favourite with his first BAFTA tap for his role as the Williams sisters' father and tennis coach in "King Richard".

Denzel Washington has however been overlooked for a first BAFTA nomination for his acclaimed starring role in "The Tragedy of Macbeth".

Lady Gaga has a best leading actress nomination for her portrayal of Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott's "House Of Gucci", as does fellow US musician Alana Haim for her performance in 1970s "Licorice Pizza".

The BAFTAS are slowly carving out their own role beyond that of a stepping stone to the Oscars, to be awarded on March 27 in Los Angeles.

None of the BAFTA best actress nominations overlaps with those for its Oscar counterpart.

Kristen Stewart for her portrayal of Diana, Princess of Wales, in "Spencer".

Gaga will on Sunday introduce the EE Rising Star Award, the only one voted for by the public as the academy seeks to highlight emerging talent.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies