LONDON (AP) -- Real-life friends and awards-season rivals Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch are going head-to-head at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, an event that aims to rival the Oscars for glamour, if not for weather.
The British stars are both best-actor nominees for playing real-life scientific heroes. Redmayne stars as cosmos-probing physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything," and Cumberbatch plays code-cracking mathematician Alan Turing in "The Imitation Game."
Redmayne beat Cumberbatch to a Golden Globe last month, and the pair will face off again at Hollywood's Academy Awards on Feb. 22.
Sunday's prizes, known as BAFTAs, have a strong record of anticipating Oscars success. British talent has been especially well represented in Hollywood this year, led by multiple awards nominations for "The Theory of Everything" and "The Imitation Game."
"Britain has had a great year across the board -- across writers, producers, actors and directors," Cumberbatch said at pre-BAFTA reception Saturday hosted by Prince William and his wife Kate at Kensington Palace. "It's a very, very good time."
Bookmakers say Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" -- a coming-of-age story filmed over 12 years -- is the favorite to take the best-picture prize and secure its place as an Oscars front-runner.
The awards ceremony at London's ornate Royal Opera House is British cinema's glitziest event and an increasingly important stop for Hollywood awards hopefuls. Keira Knightley, Julianne Moore, Steve Carell, Amy Adams and David Beckham are among the stars expected to walk the red carpet on a chilly London winter day.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel," Wes Anderson's candy-colored comedy about a chaotic central European hostelry, leads the race with 11 nominations, including best picture and best director.
"The Theory of Everything," directed by James Marsh, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's showbiz satire "Birdman" each have 10 nominations, while Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" has nine. "Boyhood" and Damien Chazelle's drumming drama "Whiplash" have with five nominations apiece.
The best-picture nominees are "Birdman," ''Boyhood," ''The Grand Budapest Hotel," ''The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything."
The best-actor contest pits Redmayne and Cumberbatch against Ralph Fiennes for "Grand Budapest Hotel," Michael Keaton for "Birdman" and Jake Gyllenhaal for "Nightcrawler." Bookies have made Redmayne the strong favorite to win, with Rupert Adams of William Hill saying he's the biggest certainty for a trophy since Helen Mirren in "The Queen" almost a decade ago.
Best-actress contenders are bookies' favorite Julianne Moore for "Still Alice," Felicity Jones for "The Theory of Everything," Amy Adams for "Big Eyes," Rosamund Pike for "Gone Girl" and Reese Witherspoon for "Wild."
Awards organizers say acclaimed civil rights drama "Selma," which stars British actor David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., was overlooked because it arrived in Britain too late for the 6,500 academy members to see it. The film's tally of just two Oscar nominations helped spark a debate about Hollywood's lack of diversity.
The British academy also overlooked Mike Leigh's artist biopic "Mr. Turner" in the major categories, despite critical praise and a Cannes best-actor prize for star Timothy Spall.
But Leigh has not been forgotten. He is due to receive a lifetime honor, the British Academy Fellowship, for a body of films blending social realism and sly humor.
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