An Education leads the pack of films long listed for the Orange British Academy Film Awards, with 17 categories including best film, best director (Lone Scherfig) and best actress for Carey Mulligan.

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is named in 15 categories, Kathryn Bigalow’s The Hurt Locker has is listed in 12 whilst James Cameron’s 3D blockbuster Avatar is close behind with 11.  All three are shortlisted in the best film and best director categories.

Other contenders for best film are District 9, Moon, Precious, The Road, A Serious Man, A Single Man, Star Trek, Up and Up In The Air, as well as two Clint Eastwood films Gran Torino and Invictus. Eastwood is also shortlisted in the best director category as well as a best actor nod for his performance in Gran Torino.

Andrea Arnold and first time feature director Duncan Jones are amongst the British contenders to be long listed in the best director category for Fish Tank and Moon.

Contenders for the best actor award include Aaron Johnson for his portrayal of a young John Lennon in Sam Taylor Wood’s Nowhere Boy, Ben Whishaw in Bright Star, Colin Firth in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, Andy Serkis in Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll and George Clooney for Up In The Air.

Joining Mulligan in the long list for best actress is Meryl Streep with two citations for It’s Complicated and Julie & Julia, as well as her co-star Amy Adams. Other contenders include Abbie Cornish (Bright Star), Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and newcomer Katie Jarvis for Fish Tank.

The long list is the result of an initial round of voting by members of the Academy, which reduces the number of films entered down from 220 to 15 in each category.

The official nominations will be announced on Thursday January 21, with the awards ceremony taking place on Sunday 21 February at the Royal Opera House in London.

Meanwhile, the shortlist for the best foreign language film has also been announced today, with Broken Embraces, Coco Before Chanel, Let The Right One In, A Prophet and The White Ribbonfighting it out for the top prize.