Fantasy film "The Shape of Water" leads Bafta nominations

A scene from "The Shape of Water".

LONDON - Fantasy film "The Shape of Water" gained 12 nominations at this year's Baftas, announced Tuesday, leading the pack as the movie awards season gets under way.

Steeped in Cold War secrecy, the tale of a cleaner at a US government lab - and the Russians who are after her discovery - is in the running for awards including best film and special visual effects.

Guillermo del Toro is also nominated as best director for his film, which picked up two gongs at the Golden Globe Awards on Monday.

But despite winning best original score and best director at the Hollywood ceremony, "The Shape of Water" failed to convert nominations to wins in five other categories.

Mirroring the Golden Globes' picks, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) showered crime drama "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri" with nine nominations after the movie picked up four trophies on Monday.

Matching such Bafta hopes was "Darkest Hour", about British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill, also with nine nominations ahead of the Feb. 18 ceremony.

The three most-nominated movies all feature in the best film category, along with coming-of-age romance "Call Me by Your Name" and World War II film "Dunkirk".

The Academy also highlights British cinema talent, with 19th-century drama "Lady Macbeth" and "Own Country", about a farmer's relationship with a migrant worker, nominated for the outstanding British film award.

The category also includes satire "The Death of Stalin" as well as "Darkest Hour", "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri" and the animation "Paddington 2".

The Bafta ceremony will be held at London's Royal Albert Hall, two weeks ahead of the hotly anticipated Oscars on March 4. - AFP