The Howard Hughes biopic "The Aviator" (search) led with 14 nominations for the British Academy Awards yesterday.
But the British Academy Film Awards (search), or BAFTAs, basically took themselves out of the Oscar predicting business by snubbing two of Hollywood's contenders for Best Picture: the road comedy "Sideways" (search) and Clint Eastwood's boxing drama "Million Dollar Baby" (search).
The total lack of nominations for "Million Dollar Baby" wasn't a complete surprise: The film fared poorly in a short list of candidates for nominations released last week because its British distributor did not send out DVD copies to voters.
More mystifying was the near-shutout by the critically acclaimed "Sideways," which scored a single nomination for its adapted screenplay.
The BAFTA nominations also snubbed last year's biggest British movie, Andrew Lloyd Webber's critically lambasted "The Phantom of the Opera" (search).
Besides Best Picture, the 14 BAFTA nominations for "The Aviator" included Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actress (Cate Blanchett), Best Supporting Actor (Alan Alda) and Best Director (Martin Scorsese).
"Finding Neverland" (search) trailed with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Marc Foster), Best Actor (Johnny Depp) and Best Actress (Kate Winslet).
Also garnering 11 nominations was the British abortion drama "Vera Drake" (search), including Best Picture, Best Actress (Imelda Staunton) and Best Director (Mike Leigh).
The Brits will hand out their awards Feb. 12 — two weeks ahead of the Oscars, on Feb. 27.