Half an hour after midnight tonight (Indian Standard Time), curtains go up on the BAFTAs, the much-anticipated British Academy of Film and Television Awards, with Prince William being the guest of honour and Deepika Padukone one of the presenters. The glittering evening is being beamed live by Lionsgate Play for Indian audiences from 12:30 a.m. onwards. As the world of showbiz prepares for the BAFTAs, which may not be up there with the Oscars but are nonetheless counted among the world's top four film awards, here's a curtain-raiser to bring you up to date on the event. BAFTA 2024: Poor Things and Oppenheimer Top Contenders for Awards Night.

The race this year is between British-born Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, which has got 13 nominations, including best film, best actor (Cillian Murphy) and best supporting actress (Emily Blunt), and Yorgos Lanthimos's brilliantly original Poor Things, which received 11 nods. Emma Stone is a frontrunner in the best actress race. According to BBC.com, Nolan is the favourite to pick up best director. "Hard to believe given his back catalogue -- which includes Dunkirk, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises -- but this will be his first BAFTA win if he triumphs at the weekend," says BBC.com.

If, as widely expected, Robert Downey Jr picks up the award for the best-supporting actor, it will be his second Bafta win -- a whopping 31 years after his best actor win for Chaplin back in 1993, reports BBC.com. Other films hoping for a successful evening include the French courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall, nostalgic comedy-drama The Holdovers, the Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro with Bradley Cooper playing the lead role, the fantasy romance All of Us Strangers, black comedy thriller Saltburn and Barbie of course. BAFTAs 2024 Live Streaming Date and Time: When and Where To Watch the 77th BAFTA Awards Ceremony Online.

"Some film fans were left disappointed after Margot Robbie missed the cut for the best actress nomination at the Oscars," notes BBC.com, "but the Barbie star has a chance (albeit a slim one) at the BAFTAs in the same category." Martin Scorseses' Killers of the Flower Moon has nine impressive nominations, and so does Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest. Euphoria, Saltburn and Priscilla star Jacob Elordi are one of the favourites to pick up the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and he's also nominated for best-supporting actor in Saltburn. He recently hit headlines when he was accused of grabbing a reporter's throat in Sydney and is not expected to attend on Sunday.

Emerald Fennell's film was completely left out in the cold when the Oscar nominations were announced last month, continues BBC.com, so will the BAFTAs show more love to what has arguably become a cult British classic? Saltburn has got five nods, including Best Actor (Barry Keoghan) and Best Supporting Actress (Rosamund Pike). It lost out on the Best Film nomination, but it wasn't the only one -- with just five spots available, Barbie also missed the cut. "Perhaps there's an argument for BAFTA to expand the number of picture nominees, as the Oscars have done, to 10?" notes BBC.com

German star Sandra Huller has the distinction of getting a nomination in two categories -- for best actress in Anatomy of a Fall and for best supporting actress in Jonathan Glazer's chilling Nazi drama The Zone of Interest. "Seriously though, she absolutely deserves both," says BBC.com. Another one from BBC.com: "Fun (and unapologetically geeky) fact -- if Barbie or Anatomy of a Fall wins best screenplay, it will be a couple picking up the prize. Greta Gerwig wrote Barbie with her husband, Noah Baumbach, while Justine Triet penned Anatomy of a Fall with her partner, Arthur Harari.

Who should you look out for? Greta Gerwig, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling will be among those flying the flag for Barbie, which has five nominations. Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan (Maestro), Christopher Nolan, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr (Oppenheimer) will be on the red carpet. Emma Stone (Poor Things), Colman Domingo (Rustin), Da'Vine Joy Randolph Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers) and Paul Mescal (All of Us Strangers) are also expected. So are Saltburn stars Rosamund Pike and Sandra Huller, who stars in Anatomy of a Fall and The Zone of Interest.

Prince William is BAFTA's president and will be attending the ceremony but without his wife Catherine, Princess of Wales, who is still recovering after abdominal surgery. Former Doctor Who star David Tennant will host the show this year. To quote BBC.com, "The Scottish actor certainly doesn't lack a sense of humour, but he won't be making any Ricky Gervais-style barbs at his A-list audience." Tennant said in his defence, "We want to have an evening that's a celebration that won't make people feel uncomfortable and won't have people being roasted in any way, so it will hopefully be an evening of generosity and joy." The list of presenters includes David Beckham, Dua Lipa, Bollywood star Deepika Padukone, Hugh Grant, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Gillian Anderson and Andrew Scott.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 18, 2024 04:53 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).