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Stars and royalty hit the red carpet for UK Academy Awards

Posted at 11:20 AM, Feb 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-12 14:20:58-05

Hollywood stars mingled with British royalty on Sunday at the British Academy Film Awards, where "La La Land" was favored to dance away with multiple trophies.

Prince William and his wife Kate were due on the red carpet at London's Royal Albert Hall, along with nominees including Meryl Streep, Casey Affleck and Nicole Kidman.

"La La Land," an effervescent musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, has 11 nominations, including best picture, best actor and best actress.

The U.K. awards, known as BAFTAs, are often seen as an indicator of who will win at Hollywood's Academy Awards, held two weeks later. "La La Land" already is a dominant force at the Oscars, with 14 nominations. It also has won seven Golden Globes.

Viola Davis was seen as the favorite to win the best supporting actress BAFTA for "Fences," Denzel Washington's adaptation of August Wilson's stage drama about an African-American family.

Davis said being recognized in Britain was proof that Wilson "has told a universal story of the everyman and American history."

The stars brought a dose of glamor to gray, wintry London, as hundreds of fans lined the red carpet outside a domed concert hall beside London's Hyde Park.

Many of those attending expected politics to make a guest appearance at the ceremony, as it has so often this awards season. Streep is among the stars who have used the awards stage to criticize President Donald Trump.

Barry Jenkins, director of best-picture nominee "Moonlight," said, "People ought to speak from their heart. If there's something you've got to say, then say it."

Prince William, who is also president of Britain's film academy, was to present the academy's lifetime-achievement honor to veteran comedian Mel Brooks during Sunday's ceremony.

And while the luscious "La La Land" was the favorite, academy voters could choose to reward less escapist fare.

The philosophical sci-fi yarn "Arrival" and the psychological thriller "Nocturnal Animals" have nine BAFTA nominations each. Director Ken Loach's gritty "I, Daniel Blake," a stinging critique of Britain's welfare system, was up for five awards.

Best-picture contenders are "Arrival," ''I, Daniel Blake," ''La La Land," the wrenching New England drama "Manchester By The Sea" and the Miami-set coming-of-age story "Moonlight."

The BAFTAs differ from their U.S. counterpart in having a separate category for best British film. Nominees in that category include "I, Daniel Blake"; the raucous road trip "American Honey"; the courtroom drama "Denial"; the wizarding adventure "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"; the documentary "Notes on Blindness"; and the Iran-set horror film "Under the Shadow."

Gosling's rivals in the best actor race were Andrew Garfield for "Hacksaw Ridge"; Casey Affleck for "Manchester by the Sea"; Jake Gyllenhaal for "Nocturnal Animals"; and Viggo Mortensen for "Captain Fantastic."

Best-actress contenders were Stone; Amy Adams for "Arrival"; Emily Blunt for "The Girl on the Train"; Meryl Streep for "Florence Foster Jenkins"; and Natalie Portman for "Jackie."