Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 17 News List

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Kate Winslet has no rivals.

PHOTO: AP

Kate Winslet will be competing with herself at Britain's film awards next month since she won two nominations for best actress, but Martin Scorsese's The Aviator led the way with 14 nods in a pre-Oscar boost.

Vera Drake, about a back-street abortionist in 1950s London, won 11 British Academy Film Awards nominations on Monday, and was matched by Finding Neverland, about JM Barrie's friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.

Once again the BAFTAs -- moved in 2001 from April to February to fall between the US Golden Globes and Oscars -- are seeking to steal a little of Hollywood's limelight as the cinema awards season reaches its climax.

"There is a perception that the BAFTAs are now some sort of indicator en route to the Oscars," BAFTA chairman Duncan Kenworthy said.

"The bottom line is that we want to have all nominees in the room. If Americans stayed away it would be less exciting," added Kenworthy, producer of British cinema successes including Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually.

Winslet has been shortlisted for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Finding Neverland, and is up against Imelda Staunton for Vera Drake, Charlize Theron (Monster) and Zhang Zhiyi (House of Flying Daggers) in the best actress category.

Daggers is up for nine BAFTA awards.

Dutch lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has been threatened for her criticism of Islam and who wrote the scenario for slain filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's film Submission, returned to parliament Tuesday after more than two months in hiding.

The Somali-born politician, who is still subject to tough security measures, was due to attend a meeting of the parliamentary group of her liberal VVD party.

Submission, made by Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali, dealt with Islam and the abuse of women and caused an uproar in the Muslim community when shown on Dutch television in August 2004.

The filmmaker was shot dead while cycling in Amsterdam on Nov. 2 last year, and a letter found on his body contained a direct threat to Hirsi Ali.

Dutch media then reported that she had gone into hiding in the United States.

With sand dunes, oases and snow-capped peaks so beloved of epic filmmakers, not to mention an army willing to provide thousands of extras, Morroco can now boast one of the world's largest film studios.

Veteran Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis and Rome's famed Cinecitta Studios have teamed up to create CLA Studios, which stretches over 150 hectares with two shooting stages.

Bigger than any studio in Hollywood or Europe, the site will be able to accommodate two major movies a year.

The earliest known footage of Manchester United -- filmed in 1902 when they were little more than a cash-strapped local works side -- is to be broadcast by the BBC today.

The scratchy, black-and-white footage is from a match against Burnley at their Turf Moor ground on Dec. 6, 1902.

It was made to be shown to workers at the Burnley Mechanics Institute that evening but the screening was cancelled because Burnley were defeated 2-0.

The film was then lost for nearly a century before being discovered in the basement of a shop in Lancashire that was due to be demolished.

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