By Alex Green and Naomi Clarke, PA
Best actor nominee Daryl McCormack joked he was attending the “Irish Baftas” as he walked the red carpet at the annual event.
Irish talent is particularly well-represented at this year’s ceremony with a quarter of all 24 acting nominations and famous names such as Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Paul Mescal up for gongs.
McCormack is tapped for his role in romantic drama Good Luck To You, Leo Grande opposite Dame Emma Thompson, as well as the rising star category.
The actor, from Co Tipperary, told the PA news agency on the red carpet: “It is amazing. It is a small country but to see the talent that comes out of it is quite amazing. To be part of it is quite nice.
“I am a fan of all Irish actors for years so to have a night where they are being celebrated is quite fun – the Irish Baftas maybe. That is what I have heard. That is what (host) Richard E Grant told me.”
Asked about the pressure of going head to head with stars such as Farrell and Bill Nighy, he replied: “Is there pressure? Oh goodness. No, I’m delighted to be here. It is really nice that the film is celebrated and that myself and Emma are celebrated.
“I am just drinking it all in and taking it in my stride. I have come here to enjoy the night and celebrate with other people as well.”
Game Of Thrones stars Sophie Turner and Gwendoline Christie, supporting actress nominee Jamie Lee Curtis and red carpet co-host Vick Hope were also among those posing for the cameras ahead of the ceremony at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Netflix’s anti-war epic All Quiet On The Western Front leads the pack with 14 nominations.
The Banshees Of Inisherin, starring Farrell, and Everything Everywhere All At Once, featuring Michelle Yeoh, follow close behind with 10 nominations each.
The night could see Irish star Farrell take home the first Bafta of his 25-year career.
On the red carpet, Sheila Atim said working with Viola Davis on The Woman King was a “real dream” as she could learn from the US actress’s professionalism.
Atim and Davis are nominated for Bafta awards in the rising star and leading actress categories respectively.
Asked what it was like to work with Davis, Atim told PA: “Working with Viola, it’s great because she’s an active actor, she wants to collaborate.
“So even though she is Viola Davis, she doesn’t see herself that way. You’re working with a colleague and that’s a real dream because then there’s like a real creative generosity there.”
Atim said Davis did not necessarily give her any advice but added: “I think the way she carried herself was my advice, because she’s somebody who’s been working for longer than me and so the way she moves, she carries that experience in her professionalism.”
Stranger Things star Matthew Modine said anti-war film All Quiet On The Western Front is important as it “elegantly shows you that war is the destruction of life”.
The film is directed by German filmmaker Edward Berger and based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque.
Speaking to PA, Modine said: “I really loved All Quiet On The Western Front because the message of the film is so important.
“We really haven’t learned how to solve our problems without beating each other in the head or shooting each other with guns, dropping bombs on one another.
“So a film like this that’s done so well, it’s not a political movie, not about Germans or British people, it’s just about the destruction of life and what war does to people and young people in particular that are called to fight in those wars.
“It so elegantly shows you that war is the destruction of life. And I think that we have to learn that we just can’t keep behaving like we do.”
Northern Irish actor Seamus O’Hara said the awards attention on his film An Irish Goodbye has been “absolutely magic”.
The film, which is set in Northern Ireland and follows two estranged brothers who come together after their mother’s death, has been nominated in the British short film category.
O’Hara said of the film’s reception: “Initially, it’s quite overwhelming.
“It’s all very new, very big, very pressing, but we’ve levelled out with it.
“I think we’re at a place now where we get to enjoy the experience but we also get to promote ourselves nationally as storytellers, and more people are getting to watch the movie and people love the movie, so the whole thing has been absolutely magic.”
Among the early arrivals on the carpet were the production team behind Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, which is nominated for best animated film.
They posed for pictures with a replica of the one-inch shell that stars in their quaint stop-motion feature.
This year’s Baftas ceremony has moved to the Royal Festival Hall from its previous location of the Royal Albert Hall, which had hosted the show since 2017.
The Prince and Princess of Wales will attend for the first time in three years.
The Bafta Film Awards are this year hosted by Richard E Grant.