'Gravity' leads BAFTA nominations

By CNN Staff

Acclaimed space drama "Gravity" leads the nominations for this year's British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) with rival movies "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" close on its heels.

The three films will compete for the Best Film award, alongside "Captain Phillips" and "Philomena," at the BAFTA red carpet ceremony in London on February 16.

Director Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" -- starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts adrift in space -- has 11 nominations, including those for best actress for Bullock, cinematography, original screenplay and outstanding British film.

"12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" follow close behind with 10 nominations each.

"American Hustle's" David O. Russell is nominated as best director while Christian Bale and Amy Adams are up for best actor and actress awards for their roles as con-artists forced to work with a federal agent on a sting.

Director Steve McQueen is also in contention, for his "12 Years A Slave," about a free black man kidnapped and forced into slavery in 19th century America.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is nominated for best actor for his role in the film and his co-stars Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'O score nominations in the best supporting actor and actress categories.

"Captain Phillips" notches up eight nominations, including best actor for Tom Hanks, in the title role. The film is based on the true story of the attempted hijacking of a ship captained by Richard Phillips off the coast of Somalia in 2009.

In other films based on real life events, Matt Damon is nominated for best supporting actor for his role as the boyfriend of flamboyant singer Liberace in "Behind the Candelabra."

The biopic, which was released in cinemas in the UK, is up for five awards in BAFTA's film section after its U.S. release on television channel HBO made it ineligible for last year's Oscars.

Damon's co-star Michael Douglas went on to win an Emmy television award for outstanding lead actor for playing the singer.

Leonardo DiCaprio has also been BAFTA-nominated for best actor for his role in "The Wolf of Wall Street," which has three nominations in total, as does "Philomena" -- including best actress for Judi Dench.