Brits celebrating Oscar nominations

Mirren, Mulligan, Firth among the U.K.'s honorees

LONDON -- There ain't nothing like a dame, and Helen Mirren's best actress Oscar nomination for her role in "The Last Station" proved that once again.

While Mirren's name went missing when nominations for the Orange British Academy Film Awards were announced last month, it resurfaced Tuesday in the Academy Award noms. Her turn as Leo Tolstoy's wife in the film, which opens Feb. 19 in the U.K., gives her a chance at her second Oscar.

All the other Brits scoring major noms for this year's Oscars also are nominated in the same categories for the BAFTA film shindig, which takes place Feb. 21, before the final Academy ballot deadline.

However Oscar's best actress race plays out, Carey Mulligan is considered the favorite at the BAFTAs for the youngster's turn in the British drama of manners "An Education."

"An Education" is the only movie flying the Union Jack in this year's best film Oscar list, and few here would argue that it didn't reap benefits from the extension to 10 nominees this year.

When Colin Firth's name was announced as a best actor nominee, whoops of delight were broadcast from BBC News 24's studio. Firth is nominated for his performance as a grief-stricken gay English professor in "A Single Man."

"I thought I was managing my expectations, but on hearing the news, I discovered new and unfamiliar vocal tones. Perhaps I should do another musical," Firth quipped.

British writers figure in the adapted screenplay category at the Oscars as well.

Nick Hornby's screenplay for "An Education," a movie on which his partner Amanda Posey was one of the producers, received an Oscar nomination. And, in a heartening development, the political satire "In the Loop" also cinched a nom.

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Written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, "Loop" marks comedian and writer Iannucci's first foray onto the big screen.

Iannucci told THR that his Oscar nom is satisfying because "for a first film, and a comedy at that, to get recognition like this is amazing."

He said he called his mother to give her the good news but she had someone in the house "dealing with her boiler," so she would have to jump up and down and celebrate her son's success later.