UK talent bids for glory at Oscars

Witney Gazette: Dame Judi Dench is among the British stars hoping to win an Oscar on Sunday. Dame Judi Dench is among the British stars hoping to win an Oscar on Sunday.

Big-name stars Dame Judi Dench and Chiwetel Ejiofor are not the only ones carrying British hopes at this year's Oscars, with more than a dozen contenders looking to make it one of the most successful years yet for the UK film industry.

Mark Gill and Baldwin Li are hardly household names but their 13-minute film The Voorman Problem boasts a stellar cast in Tom Hollander and Martin Freeman and could win them an Oscar - they are shortlisted for the Short Film (Live Action) award.

Malcolm Clarke, whose The Lady In Number 6: Music Saved My Life is nominated for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject, now lives in Canada but learned his tr ade at the BBC and Granada TV.

The film's inspiration, Alice Herz-Sommer, was the world's oldest Holocaust survivor and a gifted pianist who died in London on Sunday aged 110 years old.

The London-based team behind the special effects in outer-space drama Gravity are widely tipped to bring the Oscar for Visual Effects back home, but even if they win they are likely to be overshadowed by some of the household names vying for honours this year.

Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave leads the UK charge - the film b ased on the true story of a free New Yorker kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south of the United States picked up nine nominations including best film, best actor for Ejiofor and best director for McQueen.

Ejiofor faces competition for the best actor statuette from Welsh actor Christian Bale for American Hustle, veteran Bruce Dern for Nebraska, The Wolf Of Wall Street's Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club.

Dame Judi Dench's performance in the title role of Philomena , based on the true story of a woman's search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption in 1950s Ireland, sees her nominated for the best actress award.

The film is also shortlisted for best picture and Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope are nominated for best adapted screenplay.

The best actress shortlist is completed by Cate Blanchett, the star of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, and Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock.

Londoner Sally Hawkins is nominated for best supporting actress - also for Blue Jasmine - alongside Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years A Slave, Julia Roberts for August: Osage County and June Squibb for Nebraska.

Another of 12 Years A Slave's stars, Michael Fassbender, is nominated for best supporting actor along with Barkhad Abdi from modern-day pirate drama Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper for American Hustle, Jonah Hill for The Wolf Of Wall Street and Jared Leto from Dallas Buyers Club.

McQueen's best director nomination puts him up against Martin Scorsese for The Wolf Of Wall Street, American Hustle's David O Russell, Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron and Alexander Payne for Nebraska.

Captain Phillips, made by director Paul Greengrass, who launched his career on World In Action before heading for Hollywood, is one of nine contenders for best film.

It faces competition from American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and Philomena with t he Spike Jonze film Her, Nebraska and The Wolf Of Wall Street completing the shortlist.

Irish rockers U2 are nominated for best original song for Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom but its star Idris Elba missed out on the nominations.

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