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As in the U.S., political films loom large on the awards slate at the British Academy Film Awards, known as the BAFTAs, but the U.K. nominations favored the most overtly English of this year’s political films, The Constant Gardener. The drama of a British diplomat in Africa who finds a global conspiracy when he investigates his wife’s murder earned 10 BAFTA nominations this morning, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes), and Best Actress (Rachel Weisz, who just took home a Golden Globe for Supporting Actress for her role in the movie).

Just behind Gardener were Brokeback Mountain and Crash, with nine nods each. Earning six nominations apiece were Pride & Prejudice, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Good Night, and Good Luck. George Clooney is up for four trophies; he’s competing against himself for Supporting Actor for Syriana and Good Night, a film for which he also scored Director and Screenplay nominations. The full list of BAFTA nominees is here.

Speaking of Syriana, one new monkey wrench in the voting process comes with the belated newsthat the Academy has decided to move Stephen Gaghan’s screenplay intothe Original (rather than Adapted) category. (The movie’s credits sayit’s based on Robert Baer’s See No Evil, though Baer’s nonfiction book is clearly just a jumping-off point for Syriana‘swholly invented characters and situations.) With three days ofballoting left, the shift could certainly skew the voting, not tomention the fact that putting Syriana up against Crash and Good Nightcould well rob the film of its likeliest Oscar shot (unless Clooney canrepeat his Golden Globes Supporting Actor victory). For what it’sworth, the BAFTAs avoided the issue by not nominating Gaghan’s scriptat all.

It’s not clear what influence, if any, the BAFTAs will have on the Oscars, though news of Russell Crowe‘ssmackdown of a BAFTA telecast director for cutting short his acceptancespeech four years ago may have cost him the Oscar for A Beautiful Mind.(Members of the U.S. Academy have until Saturday to return theirnomination ballots, and they must vote for the winners by Feb. 28, ninedays after the BAFTAs are handed out.) Still, the names of this year’sBAFTA acting nominees looks a lot like the list of performers favoredso far in America by critics groups and the Golden Globe voters, and Iwouldn’t be surprised to see a nearly identical list when the Oscarnominations are announced Jan. 31.

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