British film AN EDUCATION, sci-fi blockbuster AVATAR and war thriller THE HURT LOCKER are set to go head-to-head at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards next month (Feb10) - after scoring eight nominations each.
All three movies will compete against Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Up In The Air for the night's Best Picture prize.
Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi thriller District 9 is also up for seven awards, while Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and George Clooney's Up In The Air have six nominations apiece.
An Education star Carey Mulligan will compete for the Best Actress statue, facing competition from Hollywood veteran Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia), French star Audrey Tautou (Coco Before Chanel), Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire).
Meanwhile, Brit actor Colin Firth has scooped his second ever BAFTA nomination for his performance in fashion designer Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man. He will compete in the Best actor category alongside Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up In The Air), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Andy Serkis (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll).
The awards will be handed out at London's Royal Opera House on 21 February (10).
The main BAFTA 2010 nominees are:

Best Film:
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Up In The Air

Outstanding British Film:
An Education
Fish Tank
In The Loop
Nowhere Boy

James Cameron - Avatar
Neill Blomkamp - District 9
Lone Scherfig - An Education
Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds

Leading Actor:
Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up In The Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
Andy Serkis - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Leading Actress:
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Saoirse Ronan - The Lovely Bones
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia
Audrey Tautou - Coco Before Chanel

Supporting Actor:
Alec Baldwin - It's Complicated
Christian MCKay - Me And Orson Welles
Alfred Molina - An Education
Stanley Tucci - The Lovely Bones
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds

Supporting Actress:
Anne-Marie Duff - Nowhere Boy
Vera Farmiga - Up In The Air
Anna Kendrick - Up In The Air
Mo'nique - Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Kristin Scott Thomas - Nowhere Boy

Animated Film:
Fantastic Mr Fox