By Kevin O'Neill
Saoirse Ronan and Jessie Buckley lead the Irish interest in the 2020 Bafta Awards, with both in the running for Leading Actress at the ceremony.
Both are no strangers to the South East as Jessie went to school in Tipperary and Saoirse was raised in Carlow.
The nominations for the awards were announced early on Tuesday morning, coming in the wake of the Golden Globes and less than a week before the announcement of the Oscar nominations as awards season cranks up.
Ronan is competing for her leading role in Greta Gerwig's 'Little Women'. She was in the running at the Golden Globes but was pipped by Renée Zellweger, whose portrayal of Judy Garland has her as a firm favourite to dominate awards season. Zellweger has also been nominated for a Bafta.
Kerry actress Buckley will be hoping for an upset, though. Her starring role as an aspiring Glaswegian country singer in the film 'Wild Rose' earned plaudits early in 2019 and announced her as one to watch on the global stage.
The category will be fiercely competitive, though. Up against Ronan, Buckley and Zellweger are Charlize Theron and Scarlett Johansson.
Theron is recognised for her role in 'Bombshell', the drama about several women at Fox News who set out to expose CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, and Johansson has been nominated for her role in divorce drama 'Marriage Story'.
Todd Phillips' 'Joker' leads the way with the most nominations. It is up for 11 gongs, including best director, best film and a best actor nod for Joaquin Phoenix.
Quentin Tarantino’s 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' and Martin Scorsese’s 'The Irishman' were its closest contenders with 10 nominations each.
Sam Mendes' '1917', which earned best director and best picture (drama) at the Golden Globes, earned nine nominations.
Korean film 'Parasite' completes the list of best picture nominations.
The nominations have been met with significant backlash early on, though, due to the lack of diversity in the categories.
Among the 20 acting nominations, there were no actors of colour, with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Murphy and Awkwafina, who won a Golden Globe for 'The Farewell' this week, all absent.
The directing category is an all-male field, with Greta Gerwig left out, while the acclaimed British film 'The Souvenir', directed by Joanna Hogg, was completely ignored too.
Bafta CEO Amanda Berry said: "The lack of diversity in today’s nominations is hugely disappointing to see. Our year-round activity has many strands that focus on diversity. It’s clear there is much more to be done and we plan to double down on our efforts to affect real change and to continue to support, and encourage the industry on the urgency of doing so much more."
The Bafta film awards will take place on February 2 at the Royal Albert Hall, London and will be hosted by Graham Norton.