Valentine’s Day looks set to provide a treat for fans of the Film industry, as this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) ceremony takes place at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. The 69th edition of the biggest film awards event held in Britain looks certain to be filled with intriguing sub plots, as the nominees go head to head for the prestigious prizes on offer.

“Carol” and “Bridge of Spies” feature strongly

Carol” and “Bridge of Spies” lead in terms of the number of nominations (nine apiece) but will either film prosper at the others expense or will the gongs be spread out evenly between the celebrity contenders?

The sci-fi blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is also in the running with a healthy four nominations, including the highly specialist categories of ‘Best Special Visual Effects’ and ‘Best Sound’.

Heavyweight match-ups feature across the board as one might expect:

  • Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott battle against Alejandro G. Inarritu in the ‘Best Director’ space.
  • Idris Elba will hope to repeat his recent awards success from “Beasts of No Nation”, but faces stern competition in the ‘Supporting Actor’ category from noted thespian Mark Rylance, Christian Bale and Mark Ruffalo.
  • The ‘Supporting Actress’ nominees feature the undoubted talents of Julie Walters, Kate Winslet and Rooney Mara.

Cate Blanchett to reign supreme?

Can Dame Maggie Smith (“The Lady in the Van”) repeat her success at the recent Evening Standard Awards to overcome the indomitable force represented by Cate Blanchett (“Carol”) in the ‘Leading Actress’ category? Maybe the female star of “The Danish GirlAlicia Vikander could surprise them both and walk away with the top prize.

DiCaprio favourite for top male prize

When it comes to their male counterparts, the competition looks extremely fierce as Leonardo DiCaprio’s challenging role in “The Revenant” bears comparison with Britain’s own Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”. With Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon and “Trumbo” lead Bryan Cranston also in the running, whoever comes out on top will have certainly earned their victory.

‘Best Film’ category as strong as ever

The highly coveted ‘Best Film’ prize will be as hotly contested as ever. Widely contrasting entries make the choice of a winner extremely difficult. Yet the judges will need to somehow decide between the virtues of a gritty western (“The Revenant”), investigative drama (“Spotlight”), Cold War thriller (“Bridge of Spies”), high finance comedy-drama (“The Big Short”) and romantic drama (“Carol”).

‘Fellowship’ to Poitier

The distinguished 88-year-old actor Sir Sidney Poitier is set to be honoured by receiving the BAFTA ‘Fellowship’ this year. The six-time BAFTA nominee (winning once) was recognised by the organisation as far back as 1957 and became an iconic and ground-breaking actor during a lengthy career.

His Best Actor Oscar in 1964 marked Poitier out as the first African-American to win the award. He became the top-box office star of 1967 with three critically acclaimed films with a race or race relations theme (“To Sir, with Love”, “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner”).

Fry hosts yet again

Hosting the night’s top quality viewing from London for the 11th time will be the outgoing ‘QI’ star Stephen Fry. His sharp wit and accuracy should ensure that the pace is maintained throughout the ceremony, an essential commodity given that more than twenty awards are scheduled to be presented at the red carpet event.