Fifteen pictures have been selected to go through to BAFTA's second round of voting for the best film category - including British pictures Calendar Girls, Love Actually, Girl With A Pearl Earring and Cold Mountain.
It takes three rounds of voting for BAFTA members to make their final choice of winning films. The first round, which closed on Tuesday night (Jan 6), has whittled down all the possible contenders to shortlists of fifteen in each category. The second round of voting is now open and closes at 8pm on Jan 14 to produce the official nominations which are announced on Jan 19.
Miramax's The Station Agent is one of the surprise strong contenders to emerge in the second round shortlist. The low-budget film which premiered at Sundance last year is shortlisted in an impressive seven categories - including best film, director, actor and actress. Tellingly, it was one of the small number of films to be send out this year as a screener tape to BAFTA members.
Five other films sent out as screeners made it on to the best film shortlist - 21 Grams, Big Fish, The Girl With A Pearl Earring, Kill Bill Vol 1, and Lost In Translation. Cold Mountain, which has this week been sent out to BAFTA members as a screener, is also on the list.
Other films to make it onto the best film second round shortlist are: Calendar Girls, Finding Nemo, Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, Love Actually, Master And Commander:The Far Side Of The World, Mystic River, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl and Seabiscuit.
A notable absentee from the best film list is The Last Samurai - which premiered in London on the same evening that first round voting closed. However, the film is shortlisted in a raft of other categories including original screenplay, cinematography, special visual effects, sound, costume design editing and best actor for Tom Cruise and supporting actor for Ken Watanabe.
A number of films have performed stongly and have been shortlisted in numerous categories: they include Cold Mountain (18); Big Fish (15), Girl With A Pearl Earring (14), Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (14), Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (14) and Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World (13).