'Billy Elliot' wins four major titles at British awards

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The Independent Culture

The British box-office hit Billy Elliot won four major titles last night at the British Independent Film Awards.

The British box-office hit Billy Elliot won four major titles last night at the British Independent Film Awards.

It was named best film, while Stephen Daldry was best director. Jamie Bell, who played the title role, was named best newcomer at the ceremony at the Cafe Royal in central London.

Lee Hall's script was named best screenplay and the film, set during the 1984 miners' strike and telling the story of a teenage boy from who becomes a ballet star despite his family's disapproval, was beaten in only one of the five categories for which it was shortlisted. Julie Walters, who plays Billy's mentor, was beaten to the best actress title by Gillian Anderson for her performance in The House Of Mirth.

Billy Elliot, released at the end of last month, has performed well at the box office and is proving a big draw in the few US cinemas where it is being shown. Another film doing well last night was One Day In September, the Oscar-winning documentary about the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games, which took the best directorial debut award for Kevin Macdonald, while its editor, Justine Wright, was best off-screen newcomer.

Daniel Craig, known for his role as Geordie Peacock in the BBC drama Our Friends In The North, won the best actor title for Some Voices. The Straight Story, directed by David Lynch, was named best English language foreign film.

The founder of the awards, Elliot Grove, said: "We are delighted with the calibre of films this year. Eight years ago when Raindance was formed, only 11 films qualified, this year there were 84. The growing number of nominees and winners proves that the British film industry is alive and kicking."

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