- Associated Press - Sunday, February 10, 2013

LONDON (AP) - Hollywood stars squelched up a soggy red carpet Sunday at the British Academy Film Awards, which pitted presidential biopic “Lincoln” against epic musical “Les Miserables” and Iran hostage crisis drama “Argo.”

Steven Spielberg’s stately historical drama about slavery-abolishing U.S. President Abraham Lincoln has 10 nominations at Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars, including best picture and best actor, for Daniel Day-Lewis _ though no directing nomination for Spielberg.

British-made favorite “Les Miserables” and Ang Lee’s magical realist journey “Life of Pi” received nine nominations each. James Bond adventure “Skyfall” got eight and “Argo” seven.

“Skyfall,” the highest-grossing film in the Bond series’ 50-year history, was named best British film _ rare awards-season recognition for an action movie. Thomas Newman’s score also won the best-music prize.

Director Sam Mendes said he was accepting the trophy on behalf of the “1,292 people” who worked on “Skyfall.”

“We all had high expectations for this film and it’s fair to say all of them have been exceeded,” Mendes said. “Here’s to the next 50 years.”

The early prizes were shared widely, with “Les Mis” taking trophies for sound and makeup/hair, “Argo” winning the editing prize and “Life of Pi” receiving the honor for cinematography.

Quentin Tarantino picked up the original screenplay award for “Django Unchained,” and Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor for playing a loquacious bounty hunter in Tarantino’s slave-revenge thriller.

Waltz said his victory was entirely due to Tarantino _ “you silver-penned devil, you.”

Anne Hathaway was named best supporting actress for her brief but powerhouse performance in “Les Miserables.” Hathaway said she was “overjoyed” _ and so taken aback that “I almost walked past George Clooney without hugging him.”

Writer-director David O. Russell won the adapted screenplay prize for “Silver Linings Playbook,” a comedy about characters confronting mental illness.

Before the ceremony, stars including Clooney, “Argo” director and star Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper braved a chilly rain that turned to snow outside the Royal Opera House.

For once it was hair, even more than frocks, that drew attention _ though Marion Cotillard defied the dull weather in a canary-yellow gown. Beards were de rigeur among male stars including Clooney, Affleck and Cooper, while Helen Mirren turned heads with a pink `do, sported in honor of breast cancer awareness.

Jackman, who has hosted the Tony Awards several times and is up for a best actor award, said it was far easier simply to be a nominee.

“After hosting an event like this or two, it’s just so much more relaxing just to watch the show,” he said.

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