Mendes debut earns 14 Bafta nominations

, Arts and Heritage Correspondent
Wed 1 Mar 2000 21.17 EST

American Beauty, the first film by British director Sam Mendes, won 14 nominations for the British Academy film awards yesterday, to add to the eight Oscar nominations it was given three weeks ago.

Mendes, a London theatre director who has made the transition to Hollywood golden boy, is just short of last year's record 16 nominations for Shakespeare in Love, but his film is in contention for best film, best director and best cinematography, as well as acting, design and music awards.

There was consolation for the wounded pride of director Neil Jordan and his team on The End of the Affair. His adaptation of Graham Greene's novel has 10 Bafta nominations, after being hotly tipped for but then left off the Oscar list.

Whatever the Bafta judges' verdicts, the awards will be dominated this year by British directors and actors: only one of the five nominations for film of 1999 is American, the science fiction The Sixth Sense.

Anthony Minghella's film of Patricia Highsmith's thriller, The Talented Mr Ripley, has four nominations, and the three British directors have also been nominated for the David Lean director award.

The fourth British contender for best film title is the surprise British box office hit East is East, a comparatively low budget comedy .

Ralph Fiennes is nominated for best actor in The End of the Affair, against Jim Broadbent, who played WS Gilbert in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy, and Om Puri for East is East. American actors Kevin Spacey, in American Beauty, and Russell Crowe, in The Insider, have also been nominated.

The same films dominate the best actress list: Linda Bassett for East is East; Julianne Moore for The End of the Affair; Annette Bening for American Beauty; and Emily Watson for Angela's Ashes - which had been eagerly anticipated but was not well received by the critics, and has done poorly in both Oscar and Bafta nominations.

Actor Rhys Ifans continues the inexorable rise to stardom based on his revolting underpants in Notting Hill, which have won him a best supporting actor nomination. He is in competition with Wes Bentley, for American Beauty, Michael Caine, for Cider House Rules, Jude Law, for the Talented Mr Ripley, and Timothy Spall, for Topsy-Turvy.

Nominees for most promising newcomer in a British film are Justin Kerrigan, writer and director of Human Traffic, Ayub Khan Bin, writer of East is East, Kirk Jones, writer and director of Waking Ned, and Lynne Ramsay, writer and director of Ratcatcher.

The awards will be presented at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, London, on April 9, and covered live on Sky TV, co-sponsors of the awards with Orange. However Bafta said there would also be a later broadcast on ITV.

Audiences will have the last word on one award, and can vote for their choice from the top 10 box office hits - which range from A Bug's Life to The Spy Who Shagged Me - through coupons in newspapers and in the Radio Times, in person at Blockbuster video and Orange shops, or online through

Best film

American Beauty, East is East, The End of the Affair, The Sixth Sense, The Talented Mr Ripley

Best direction

All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar), American Beauty (Sam Mendes), The End of the Affair (Neil Jordan), The Sixth Sense (M Night Shyamalan), The Talented Mr Ripley (Anthony Minghella)

Best British film

East is East, Notting Hill, Onegin, Ratcatcher, Topsy-Turvey, Wonderland

Best actress

Linda Bassett (East is East), Annette Bening (American Beauty), Julianne Moore (The End of the Affair), Emily Watson (Angela's Ashes)

Best actor

Jim Broadbent (Topsy-Turvy), Russell Crowe (The Insider), Ralph Fiennes (The End of the Affair), Om Puri (East is East), Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)

Best supporting actress

Thora Birch (American Beauty), Cate Blanchett (The Talented Mr Ripley), Cameron Diaz (Being John Malkovitch), Maggie Smith (Tea With Mussolini), Mena Suvari (American Beauty)

Best supporting actor

Wes Bentley (American Beauty), Michael Caine (Cider House Rules), Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill), Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley), Timothy Spall (Topsy-Turvy)