GALLERY: Cate Blanchett wins best actress BAFTA for Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett's chances of winning a second Oscar have been given a boost after she won a third British film award for her turn as a fallen Manhattan socialite in Woody Allen's tragic comedy Blue Jasmine.

Blanchett was an almost unbackable favourite to take out the leading actress Bafta and duly beat four other nominees including British stars Judi Dench and Emma Thompson.

Chiwetel Ejiofor took out the leading actor award at London's Royal Opera House on Sunday night for his performance in 12 Years a Slave.

Blanchett, 44, who previously won Baftas for The Aviator in 2005 and Elizabeth in 1999, didn't speak to reporters as she walked the red carpet before the awards ceremony.

The Oscar winner has reportedly been keen to avoid questions about recent sexual abuse accusations directed at Allen by his adopted daughter Dylan with ex-partner Mia Farrow.

A week ago Blanchett joined hundreds of mourners at the private New York funeral of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died of an apparent heroin overdose.

Blanchett used her speech to dedicate the award to Hoffman, hailing his "monumental talent".

"You raised the bar, continually, so very very high and all we can do in your absence is try to raise it.

"Phil, buddy, you bastard, this is for you," Blanchett concluded. "I hope you're proud."

Blanchett picked up a Golden Globe for Blue Jasmine in January and has also been nominated for next month's Oscars.

At the start of Sunday's ceremony, host Stephen Fry singled out her performance in the "utterly compelling" film.

"She (Blanchett) plays a woman who finds herself penniless and on the verge of a breakdown after being betrayed by a wealthy, powerful man," Fry told the star-studded audience.

"It's loosely based on matters currently unravelling in the French presidency."

Fry then quipped that given the audience's muted laughter to his joke, it was clear they didn't give a flying hoot about French politics.

While Baz Luhrmann missed out on a best director nomination for The Great Gatsby his wife, Catherine Martin, won two Bafta awards on Sunday.

Martin picked up the production design award along with compatriot and Gatsby set decorator Beverley Dunn, before going on to take the best costume design award as well.

A host of other Australians nominated for their work in make-up and hair, costume, visual effects, producing and script-writing failed to claim a Bafta on Sunday.

The British film awards are seen as a dry run for the Oscars which take place in Hollywood on March 2.

AAP

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