The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is set to hold its annual Film Awards at London's Royal Opera House on February 8, but despite the glittering array of talent and celebrity that will hit the red carpet, one face will be seen more than any other - the iconic BAFTA mask.

Designed by US sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe in 1955, the bronze cast has adorned the arms of countless numbers of film's biggest stars since the ceremony was created in 1976.

But far away from the glitz and glamour of the ceremony itself, the journey for the award itself begins in a small factory in Middlesex, near west London's Heathrow airport.

New Pro Foundries there has been making the masks for every ceremony since they began, setting around 270 of them a year using bronze PB3, with each one weighing approximately 2.8kg.

Managing Director Patrick Helly said the process of creation used the model originally produced by Cunliffe.

"We use the resin model to make sand moulds. We pour liquid metal into the sand moulds, we knock the sand moulds apart, clean them up and then send them to BAFTA," he said, adding that the process meant each individual mask is different to the next.

"One of the things about the BAFTA is it's not a perfect object. Each one is, to a certain extent, unique, because it's a handmade thing, each one will be slightly different from every other one. It is a craft object, not an industrially made car, or anything like that," he added.

The masks are made in batches of 10, while the casting process can take around three hours.

Helly said his involvement with making the masks was a double-edged sword.

"Because we make them and they're all over the place, you do get a bit jaded. But when you see people standing on the stage, waving them in the air, it's quite uplifting," he said.

"The Grand Budapest Hotel", an offbeat comedy starring Ralph Fiennes as the concierge of a luxury hotel in a bygone Europe, tops the shortlist for Britain's BAFTA awards, with 11 nominations, including for best film.