Baftas brace for 'blackout' as 'The Shape of Water' dominates nominations

Baftas brace for 'blackout' as 'The Shape of Water' dominates nominations

With Hollywood still reeling from the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, actresses look set to wear all-black outfits at London's Albert Hall, just as they did at last month's Golden Globes.

Guillermo del Toro's fantasy film The Shape of Water leads the nominations at Sunday's Baftas, where Hollywood stars will again turn the red carpet black in solidarity with the #Me Too movement.

The Cold War-era movie has 12 nominations, while crime drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour, about British wartime leader Winston Churchill, each have nine.

(L-R) Producer J. Miles Dale, director Guillermo del Toro, winner of the award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 'The Shape of Water', actors Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins and composer Alexandre Desplat pose in the press room during the 70th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 3, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

All three are up for the best film award, along with another World War II drama, Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, and Luca Guadagnino's coming-of-age romance Call Me By Your Name.

Del Toro, Guadagnino, Nolan and Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards) are up for best director alongside Denis Villeneuve for Blade Runner 2049 -- an all-male lineup that has drawn criticism, particularly this year.

With Hollywood still reeling from the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, actresses look set to wear all-black outfits at London's Albert Hall, just as they did at last month's Golden Globes.

Bafta nominees Margot Robbie and Allison Janney are among those who say they will repeat the gesture, a powerful statement by the A-list against a culture sexual harassment and abuse that spreads well beyond the entertainment industry.

Actor Margot Robbie attends The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

It is not yet clear whether the Duchess of Cambridge will follow suit when she attends with her husband Prince William, president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta).

Last year she wore a black Alexander McQueen gown with white flowers, but may be wary of being seen to breach royal protocol by aligning herself with a public protest.

In an open letter published Sunday before the awards, almost 200 British and Irish stars backed a new fund to help women facing sexual harassment and abuse at work.

It echoes a similar initiative launched in Hollywood last month, and was kick-started with a £1 million (1.13 million euros, $1.4 million) donation from actress and activist Emma Watson.

Other signatories to the letter included Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley -- who donated £10,000 -- and Bafta nominees Kristin Scott Thomas and Saoirse Ronan.

Actress Kate Winslet attends the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

"As we approach the Baftas, our industry's time for celebration and acknowledgement, we hope we can celebrate this tremendous moment of solidarity and unity across borders by coming together and making this movement international," the letter says.

Timed to fall between the Globes and the Oscars, the Baftas' choices often mirror those of its American heavyweights.

The Shape of Water, a story of love between a mute cleaning woman and a mystery merman-like creature, is leading the pack just as it has been across the Atlantic.

Aside from the best film and best director nods, Del Toro is up for original screenplay, Sally Hawkins is nominated as leading actress and Octavia Spencer for supporting actress.

The British-produced Three Billboards has nominations for best film, director and original screenplay for McDonagh, while Frances McDormand is up for leading actress, and Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson for best supporting actors.

(L-R) Actors Zeljko Ivanek, Clarke Peters, Abbie Cornish, Amanda Warren, Caleb Landry Jones, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, Sandy Martin, and John Hawkes, winners of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,' pose in the press room during the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 21, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Gary Oldman's turn as Churchill in Darkest Hour won him a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod, and has also put him in line for a Bafta.

In the leading actor category he is up against Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and Jamie Bell (Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool).

Darkest Hour has also been nominated in the best film and outstanding British film categories, while Scott Thomas is up for supporting actress for her role as Churchill's wife Clementine.

Robbie is nominated for leading actress for I, Tonya, alongside McDormand, Hawkins, Annette Bening (Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool) and Ronan (Lady Bird").

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