The Bafta nominations pitch obvious Hollywood crowd-pleasers against smaller films that need a publicity boost, according to leading film critic James King.
Awards favourite La La Land, which scooped all seven Golden Globes it was nominated for, will take on Ken Loach's unflinching assessment of the welfare state, I, Daniel Blake, in the best film category at the EE British Academy Film Awards, and King said it is important both types of movie are represented.
He told the Press Association: "There are some surprises which is always good for an awards ceremony, there is some personality.
"I, Daniel Blake feels like the kind of movie we should rightly be celebrating in Britain and at Bafta, but then you have got the more obvious choices such as La La Land, which is sweeping the boards seemingly everywhere, and rightly so.
"The nominations encourage people to go out there and see the films, it gives them a second life, so even though I, Daniel Blake came out in the autumn it will have a resurgence and people will be able to catch up with it.
"There are many directors who will say, 'if it wasn't for nominations nobody would have seen my film', it's a great bit of publicity."
James said there are some performances missing from the key nominations and he was disappointed not to see Loving star Ruth Negga receive a leading actress nod for her role in the drama about an inter-racial marriage in Virginia in the 1950s.
He said: "It's important to be different, it's important to have your own identity, but that does mean things will get missed out.
"I would hope at the Oscars Ruth Negga gets nominated for her performance in Loving.
"At the Baftas she's an EE Rising Star nominee but she doesn't have a best actress nomination and I think she missed out. I think that is a little bit sad.
"There are other opportunities but there are always going to be winners and losers."
King said he was happy to see a leading actor nod for Andrew Garfield for his role as a combat medic in Hacksaw Ridge, but is not convinced he will be a winner.
"It's great to be nominated but what is most important is he has come back with two amazing directors in two high-profile films (Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge and Martin Scorsese's Silence) that are well respected and he's moved forward from his Spider-Man days and is being seen as a leading man in really edgy, tough films."