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Galaxy of stars attend pre-Bafta party at Kensington Palace

Some of Hollywood's finest celebrated their success in being short-listed for a Bafta award one last time tonight, at a special reception for nominees at Kensington Palace.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Reese Witherspoon, Keira Knightly and Amy Adams were among the talent who attended the Audi reception at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's west London home ahead of the ceremony tomorrow.

Kiera Knightley and her husband James Righton. Credit: PA

Walking the red carpet, Cumberbatch said it was a chance for the film industry to have some fun before the nerves kick in.

The awards, seen as a dry run for the Oscars, will be handed out tomorrow at London's Royal Opera House.

Eddie Redmayne and Hannah Bagshawe. Credit: PA

Cumberbatch, nominated for best actor award for his role in The Imitation Game, said: "I want to have a brief moment of fun before the very heady nature of tomorrow begins. It gets a bit peculiar and heightened on the night some times.

"Britain has had a great year across the board, across writers, producers, actors and directors. It's a very, very good time.

"(The Imitation Game) is a wonderful film, I'm thrilled the story has been told, and I'm very excited."

Stephen Fry (left) and his husband Elliot Spencer. Credit: PA

He faces competition from Eddie Redmayne, who has been lauded by the critics for his portrayal of scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything and who has already won a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for the role.

Speaking of the success of his film, Redmayne said: "It's been so wonderful. I need to take a month or two to put it all in to perspective. "I was pretty intimidated by (playing Stephen Hawking) but I tried to use that fear to galvanise me to work harder. Fear is a great catalyst."

Michael Keaton, Ralph Fiennes and Jake Gyllenhaal will also be up against the British pair.

Olivia Grant was at the party. Credit: PA

Redmayne's on-screen wife, Felicity Jones, could triumph as well after she was nominated for the best actress award against stars including Adams and Witherspoon.

The Theory Of Everything is based on the memoirs of Hawking's ex-wife Jane which deals with their relationship, his scientific success and the onset of motor neurone disease which left him severely disabled.

Jones also faces competition from Gone Girl star Rosamund Pike and Julianne Moore.

Reece Witherspoon attended. Credit: PA

Other nominations include nods for Keira Knightley and Imelda Staunton for best supporting actress and Steve Carell and Ethan Hawke for best supporting actor.

Among the other awards presented on the night is the Rising Star, which recognises the best new talent.

Unbroken actor Jack O'Connell is among those nominated along with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who starred in last year's period drama Belle as a mixed-race aristocrat, and Margot Robbie, who first found fame playing Donna Freedman in TV soap Neighbours and has gone on to appear in The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Benedict Cumberbatch. Credit: PA

Also in the running for the gong, formally known as the EE Rising Star Award, are Miles Teller, who has recently appeared in Whiplash, and his Divergent co-star Shailene Woodley. The award is the only Bafta decided by a public vote.

Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel heads the nominations list with 11, one ahead of Keaton's Birdman and The Theory Of Everything. The Imitation Game, which stars Cumberbatch as Cambridge mathematics alumnus Alan Turing, received nine nods.

All four are on the shortlist for Best Film along with Richard Linklater's Boyhood.

Amy Adams. Credit: PA

Among The Theory Of Everything's other nominations are for best British film, best adapted screenplay and best director for James Marsh.

Mike Leigh. Credit: PA

Mike Leigh's Mr Turner is nominated for four awards including costume design and make-up and hair but there was no recognition for Timothy Spall's performance in the title role which won him the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Noomi Rapace. Credit: PA

Leigh himself is guaranteed at least one award - it has already been announced he is being honoured with a Bafta Fellowship on the night.

Edward Norton and his wife Shauna Robertson. Credit: PA

The battle for best British film sees the Hawking biopic face competition from '71 - a drama set in Belfast in the early years of the Troubles - and Paddington, which starred Ben Whishaw and Nicole Kidman and was based on author Michael Bond's books about the marmalade sandwich-loving bear.

Harvey Weinstein. Credit: PA

Also nominated is Pride - based on the real-life alliance between gay rights activists and striking miners in the 1980s - and science fiction thriller Under The Skin.

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