By Dave Karger
January 18, 2011 at 06:06 PM EST

Image Credit: Lorey SebastianThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominations always throw a couple wrenches into the awards race, some of which (like Kate Winslet’s Best Actress placement for The Reader or Alan Alda’s nod for in The Aviator) end up foreshadowing unexpected Oscar nominations. So what were the biggest surprises from the BAFTA nominees this morning? Here’s a list.

1. True Grit displaces The Fighter The Coen brothers’ Western joined The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Black Swan, and Inception in the Best Picture category, pushing out The Fighter. Overall, the boxing drama only earned four nods, compared to eight for True Grit. Though, interestingly, 127 Hours‘ snuck into Best Director over the Coens.

2. Javier Bardem for Best Actor! After being ignored by every other major nominating group, Biutiful star Javier Bardem scored a Best Actor nod over Get Low‘s Robert Duvall. Maybe the British voters heard Julia Roberts’ plea?

3. Major Best Actress shake-up Alongside front-runners Natalie Portman and Annette Bening, BAFTA filled out its Best Actress category with Bening’s Kids Are All Right costar Julianne Moore (hurray!), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s Noomi Rapace, and True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld. Steinfeld is looking more and more like a Best Actress nominee at the Oscars as well. Left off the BAFTA list: Winter’s Bone‘s Jennifer Lawrence, Rabbit Hole‘s Nicole Kidman, and Blue Valentine‘s Michelle Williams (boo).

4. Pete Postlethwaite for supporting actor As expected, The Town scored one of the five Best Supporting Actor slots. But instead of Globe and SAG nominee Jeremy Renner, it was the late British character actor Pete Postlethwaite who made the list.

5. Melissa Leo snubbed After winning the Critics Choice and Golden Globe, the Fighter scene stealer didn’t even manage a BAFTA nomination. On the list instead: Black Swan‘s Barbara Hershey (not Mila Kunis), Made in Dagenham‘s Miranda Richardson, and Another Year‘s Lesley Manville. Leo’s Fighter castmate Amy Adams did make the cut. Something similar happened two years ago when Adams scored a BAFTA nod for Doubt but Viola Davis didn’t.

6. Only one tech nod for Social Network After sweeping the awards season so far, the Facebook saga received a total of six nominations (compared for 14 for The King’s Speech), including only one for below-the-line achievement (Best Editing). Nothing for its music, cinematography, design, or sound. It’ll fare better at the Oscar nominations next week.

Dave on Twitter: @davekarger

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