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Brits hoping for Oscar nod

Dame Judi Dench has been nominated for best actress for her title role in "Iris"  

By CNN's Sonia Sequeira

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Among the American glitz and glamour of this year's Academy Awards, expect to hear a healthy dose of British accents.

Dame Judi Dench leads an all-star list of nominations for British talent, both on screen and behind the camera.

Dench is up for best actress for her leading role in the film "Iris." But she says that in the film industry, U.S. vs. U.K. is old hat.

"I think that there are more films being made with more, you know ... American-English (collaboration) ... It's a pity there's that not that interchange, we can do it so easily," says Dench.

One such collaboration: period-drama "Gosford Park," full of big-name British talent -- but with the vision of American director Robert Altman.

"I think these awards are wonderful. Cinema should get more international. The fine boundary lines don't really exist any more," says Altman.

The official definition for a British film involves a complicated formula of budget, local spending and British employment. And it's often surprising which films do and don't make the grade.

But the producer of "Bridget Jones" -- in which American actress Renee Zellweger plays the British lead role -- says the films that find box-office success are a combination of talent, funding and distribution from both sides of the Atlantic.

"I often draw the comparison to the motor industry, which is Aston Martin, for instance, is known as a great quality British car, but it's in fact owned by Ford now, which is an American company," says Tim Bevan of Working Title.

"And that at the end of the day, most films are ultimately owned by one of the studios which are run out of America."

It's no secret that the big favourite at this year's Oscars is "The Lord of the Rings," nominated in 13 categories.

But the only actor nominated from that film is Britain's Ian McKellen.

The Brits may not have the last word at the 2002 Oscars. But there will be enough of them to make a lot of noise.



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