IT'S official - the shortlist for the Sunday Herald's Culture Awards, dubbed Scotland's Oscars, can be unveiled today.

The awards, now in their second year, are to celebrate, reward and nurture huge pool of talent across the Scottish arts and cultural scene.

Among the big names up for awards are Ewan McGregor, Liz Lochhead James McAvoy, Karen Gillan, Douglas Henshall, Martin Compston, Morven Christie, David Tennant, Ewen Bremner, Karine Polwart, and Shirley Henderson. Scottish Ballet, the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Celtic Connections, Aye Write literary festival and Scottish Opera are also nominated.

Last year's winners included James McAvoy, Alan Cumming, prima ballerina Sophie Martin, Chvrches and Celtic Connections. Special guests included Kate Dickie and Outlander's Sam Heughan.

There were more than140 entries received across fifteen categories. The Sunday Herald Culture Awards will be held on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Glasgow’s Stylish art and music venue, SWG3.

One of the awards judges, Pauline Miller Judd, Dean of the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Napier University - who sponsor the awards - said: “Congratulations to all the finalists in this year’s awards. It is wonderful to see such a range of talent deservedly shortlisted. It is exciting being part of the judging process again this year and incredibly hard to whittle each category down to just one winner.”

The Herald:

EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate are sponsoring the Cultural Event of the Year category. Rhona Corscadden, EventScotland Senior Events Manager and also a Culture Awards judge, said: “Congratulations to all the finalists in this year’s Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards. All the fantastic nominations really demonstrate the vibrant cultural scene in Scotland and we certainly had tough job narrowing it down to the final nominees. I wish everyone who is up for an award the best of luck.”

Chris Cameron of awards sponsors Cameron Presentations said: “Cameron Presentations are very proud to be sponsoring this year’s Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards and would like to congratulate all the finalists for their continued excellence and contribution to Scotland’s cultural landscape.”

Editor of the Sunday Herald, Neil Mackay, who is also chairman of the judges and novelist, said: "The wealth of talent in Scotland is truly incredible. This great nation of ours punches far above its weight when it comes to the arts. We are rewarding everyone from superstars to the folk in the backroom and behind the scenes.

"It was hard work working through all the nominations - but only because our writers, actors, designers, artists, singers and dancers are so incredibly talented that whittling them down to a shortlist was a real challenge.

"I'd like to congratulate everyone who entered as just being nominated is a real recognition of your great talent. Good luck to all the nominees on the night, and we look forward to hosting a great party like last year."

For more information on how to attend the awards next month, click here, or contact Lynn Kelly on 0141 302 6011.