This morning (9 January) the British Academy Film Award nominations were announced ahead of next month's lavish ceremony, teeing up the next major awards show before the Oscars in March. Among the nominees were a few surprises, but none bigger than Hugh Grant.

British stars tend to get a lot of love at the Baftas compared to the Golden Globes and Academy Awards, but even so, Grant's nominations in the Best Supporting Actor category comes as a shock.

Grant's performance in family film Paddington 2 was celebrated at the time of the film's release, but never considered a likely nominee.

Comedic performances are seldom recognised during awards season, it seems because often the actors have too much fun. That's not fair to the talent on show.

Not everyone should have to go through a tortuous shoot like Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant to be considered.

In Paddington 2, Grant plays an eccentric, narcissistic thespian who loves a wardrobe change almost as much as himself. He's the film's villain, landing Michael Bond's sweet Peruvian bear Paddington in jail after he steals a valuable book.

Grant revels in the role, like Nicole Kidman (as a mad taxidermist) before him in the 2014 original, seizing the opportunity to let loose and chew some scenery with abandon.

The 57-year-old will be going up against some awards season favourites in Christopher Plummer (who replaced Kevin Spacey at the last minute in All the Money in the World), Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and favourite Sam Rockwell for the same film.

Rockwell picked up the corresponding award at the Golden Globes this past weekend (7 January) and will be favourite at the Oscars in March. Grant's performance isn't eligible for the prestigious show as Paddington 2 missed the 31 December cut-off.

The film is being released stateside this Friday, 12 January.

Paddington 2 picked up two other nominations, in the Outstanding British Film and Adapted Screenplay categories where it will go up against the likes of Armando Iannucci's dark political comedy The Death of Stalin and Joe Wright's Winston Churchill drama Darkest Hour.

This year's Bafta Film Awards take place on Sunday, 18 February at The Royal Albert Hall.