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Sunday February 17th, 2019 5:41AM

The Latest: 'The Favourite' grabs 2 British Academy awards

By The Associated Press
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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the British Academy Film Awards (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

"The Favourite" has kicked off the British Academy Film Awards by winning the prize for best British film.

The 18th-century royal drama took the first award of Sunday's ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall. It is nominated in another 11 categories at the U.K. equivalent of the Oscars, including the separate best film prize.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos paid tribute to the films three stars - Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. All three are up for acting trophies at the awards, known as BAFTAs.

"The Favourite" also won another of the first three awards given Sunday, for production design

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6:55 p.m.

The head of Britain's film academy says the lack of female directors in awards competition represents "an industry-wide problem."

The British Academy Film Awards have been criticized for not nominating any women for best director this year. Only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever been named best director at the British prizes, for "The Hurt Locker" in 2010.

BAFTA chairwoman Pippa Harris, a film and TV producer, said only 10 percent of the films entered for award consideration were directed by women, and "it needs to be 50 percent."

She says there's a wealth of female directors working in television, but they have had trouble getting noticed and moving on to feature films.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's awards ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall, Harris said "men seem to find that transition much easier" but that things are changing.

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6:15 p.m.

Stars have begun arriving on the red carpet at London's Royal Albert Hall for the British Academy Film Awards,

Among them: Amy Adams, a supporting actress nominee for "Vice," best-actress nominee Viola Davis of "Widows" and Glenn Close, a best-actress contender for "The Wife."

Richard E. Grant, who is up for best supporting actor at both the British awards and the Oscars, said the recognition of his performance as an affable rogue in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is "the ride of my lifetime."

A beaming Grant said: "I've been working for 40 years, I've never won anything."

He says he thinks the film about a real-life literary forger, played by Melissa McCarthy, "just moved people" and made them laugh.

McCarthy, who is another best-actress nominee, says it was a delight to work with 61-year-old Grant, "a hard worker and a troublemaker all in one."

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10:35 a.m.

Hollywood stars and British royalty are gathering in London for the British Academy Film Awards, where "The Favourite" is living up to its name by leading the race for trophies.

The royal tragi-comedy has 12 nominations, including best picture, for the U.K. equivalent of the Oscars. Olivia Colman is favored to take the best-actress prize for her performance as Britain's 18th-century Queen Anne.

Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, will join Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis and other stars for Sunday's ceremony at London's Royal Albert Hall.

The Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody," lunar drama "First Man," Mexican memoir "Roma" and the musical melodrama "A Star Is Born" each received seven nominations for the prizes, which come two weeks before Hollywood's Academy Awards on Feb. 24.

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