* "Lincoln" leads field with 10 BAFTA film nominations
* "Les Miserables", "Life of Pi" close behind
* James Bond movie garners eight, but not best film
* Britain's top film honours announced on Feb. 10
(Adds more details, context, quotes)
By Mike Collett-White
LONDON, Jan 9 "Lincoln", the story of U.S.
President Abraham Lincoln's battle to end slavery starring
Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role, won 10 BAFTA nominations on
Wednesday, putting it ahead of the pack at Britain's top film
The biopic was shortlisted in categories including best
film, actor, supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones) and supporting
actress (Sally Field), but director Steven Spielberg was not
Added to its domination of the Golden Globe contenders going
into Sunday night's awards ceremony, British critics said the
film appeared to be in pole position to sweep Oscar nominations
which are announced on Thursday.
"Les Miserables", the movie version of the global hit stage
musical, and shipwreck saga "Life of Pi" followed with nine
BAFTA nominations each, while the latest instalment of James
Bond, "Skyfall", garnered eight.
Iranian hostage thriller "Argo" won seven nominations and
"Anna Karenina", an adaptation of the Russian novel, earned six.
Quentin Tarantino's quirky slavery-era Western "Django
Unchained" and "Zero Dark Thirty", about the hunt for Osama bin
Laden, were just behind with five nominations apiece.
"Amour", Austrian director Michael Haneke's moving portrayal
of death, bagged four nominations, an unusually high number for
a film in a foreign language.
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Eric Fellner of Working Title Films, the company behind Les
Miserables and Anna Karenina, said he was pleased that two
potentially risky projects had been recognised.
Les Miserables, by Oscar-winning director of "The King's
Speech" Tom Hooper, was sung live on set, while Joe Wright's
Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law, was set
against the backdrop of elaborate stage sets.
"We knew that it was a much-loved musical and there was a
large part of the world's population who were also aware of the
book," Fellner said of Les Miserables after the BAFTA
nominations were announced.
"But it didn't stack up as a mainstream movie because over
the past decades very few (musicals) have worked. It was a big
risk," he told Reuters, adding that awards recognition could
provide a big lift for a picture just hitting theatres now.
Of Anna Karenina, he added: "The minute you do anything
different it becomes harder to get it made. But we really
believe in our film makers."
Skyfall's Judi Dench was nominated for best supporting
actress as Bond's spymaster M and Spanish actor Javier Bardem
was nominated for best supporting actor as the villain Silva.
There is likely to be disappointment, however, that the
movie which has become the most successful in British box office
history, with critical acclaim to match, was not included on the
most coveted shortlist - best film.
That award will be contested by Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi,
Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty.
Up for best actor alongside Day-Lewis is Ben Affleck (Argo),
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les
Miserables) and Joaquin Phoenix in Scientology tale The Master.
The best actress award is between 85-year-old Emmanuelle
Riva (Amour), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), Jennifer Lawrence
(Silver Linings Playbook), Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
and Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone).
As well as Haneke and Affleck, Ang Lee is in the running for
best director (Life of Pi) as is Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow
(Zero Dark Thirty).
The BAFTAs have a patchy record in predicting which films go
on to scoop the biggest movie honours, the Oscars, although last
year the main winner in London, "The Artist", also swept to
success at the Academy Awards.
The awards ceremony for the BAFTAs, formally called the EE
British Academy Film Awards, takes place in London on Feb. 10.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)