Johnny Depp movie The Libertine and MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS have been heralded as the likely winners at this year's (05) British Independent Film Awards after landing eight nominations each.

Depp, who stars as 17th Century poet and hellraiser JOHN WILMOT in the film, has been tipped for Best Actor, while co-star and former Bond girl Rosamund Pike's contribution has also been recognised.

Bob Hoskins and DAME Judi Dench are shortlisted for their performances in Mrs Henderson Presents, a bawdy theatre story also starring British pop star Will Young.

Thriller The Constant Gardener also boasts a string of nominations, with acting nods for Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy.

Awards founder ELLIOTT GROVE admits the nomination process was a trying process due to the exceptional range of talents on display: "It is, by anyone's standards, a very powerful year for British cinema."

He also reveals that Keira Knightley will be named personality of the year, while Broken Flowers star Tilda Swinton will be given the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution to film acting at the November (05) ceremony.