Sir Sam Mendes has said he “couldn’t be more delighted” by the success of his “highly personal” war film 1917, which received nine Bafta nominations.
Comic book villain origin story Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, leads the 2020 nominations at the British Academy film awards with 11 nods.
Following close behind are Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic The Irishman and Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, which both scored ten nominations.
Sir Sam, who was knighted in the New Year Honours, praised the team behind his First World War epic, which was inspired by a story told to him by his paternal grandfather, Alfred Mendes, about two young British soldiers at the height of the conflict.
The James Bond director told the PA news agency: “What began as a highly personal project for me, turned into a hugely collaborative, labour of love for the whole production team.
“I couldn’t be more delighted that everyone’s skill and hard work has been recognised by the members of Bafta in so many categories.”
Joker’s producer, Bradley Cooper, praised his “friend and partner” Todd Phillips, who directed the feature, for working “tirelessly” on the project.
A Star Is Born actor Cooper said: “So proud to be part of a film where all of the departments gave everything of themselves. And for Bafta to acknowledge all of their stellar work.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled for my friend and partner Todd Phillips, who worked tirelessly on this incredible film and for the pulsating brilliance of Joaquin’s performance right along with the rest of the cast.
“It’s a true honour to be a part of Joker.”
Phillips thanked the voting academy for connecting with the work on a “cellular level”.
He said: “Wow. What an incredible honour for the significant recognition Joker received from Bafta across the board.
“Recently, when Joaquin and I were in the UK, the love we felt for Joker was palpable and I just want to thank my British colleagues for connecting with the film on a cellular level.
“A sincere ‘well done’ to my wonderful cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring this film to the big screen.
“I also want to congratulate my fellow nominees, it is an honour to be in their company.”
The composer of Joker’s Bafta-nominated original score, Hildur Gudnadottir, added: “Thank you so very much to Bafta for this beautiful nomination. I’m touched by your support and your recognition for my music for Joker.
“I would also like to congratulate Todd, Joaquin and all the other nominees for Joker. Working on this film has been such an extraordinary experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Jeff Groth, nominated in the editing category for his work on Joker, said: “I’m honoured to be considered, and it’s incredible that such an emotional and personal film can also be so widely recognised.”
Veteran editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who notably worked with Scorsese on Goodfellas and Raging Bull, said it was thrilling to have her work recognised.
She said: “Scorsese’s unique structural ideas and style for Irishman made it a joy to edit with him. To have those bold ideas recognised by Bafta members is thrilling.”