Elizabeth, which did not win any of the main prizes in last month's Oscars, won five awards yesterday - more than any other film . Key prizes also went to Shakespeare in Love, with Judi Dench repeating her Oscar triumph as Best Supporting Actress for her eight minutes on screen as Queen Elizabeth. Geoffrey Rush, who missed out at the Oscars, won Best Supporting Actor.
Dame Judi could not receive her award as she is starring on Broadway in David Hare's play Amy's View. But a number of British stars including Lynn Redgrave, Tim Roth, Hugh Grant, Pierce Brosnan and John Hurt attended the awards ceremony in Islington, north London.
In another Oscar/Bafta double Roberto Benigni won Best Actor for Life is Beautiful, the mould-breaking comedy set in a concentration camp. Surprisingly, Saving Private Ryan did not win any leading awards, but did triumph in the Best Sound and Best Special Effects categories.
The British Academy gave more recognition than the Oscars to The Truman Show. which won three awards, including Best Director.
Two British films that missed out were Hilary and Jackie, the Jacqueline Du Pre biopic, and Little Voice starring Michael Caine, Jane Horrocks and Brenda Blethyn. Another homegrown movie received a consolation prize: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, won the Orange-sponsored audience award for the most popular film in a nationwide survey of cinema audiences.
The Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Film went to Michael Kuhn, former head of Polygram Film Entertainment.
The emotional high spot came when 67-year-old Elizabeth Taylor received a Lifetime Achievement Fellowship.
She said that her Bafta meant as much to her as an Oscar - a reaction that will delight the British film industry which has long been trying to elevate the Baftas to the status of the Oscars.
Bafta chairman Tim Angel said, "With a career spanning six decades, Elizabeth Taylor is one of the world's most respected and best-loved actresses. She is truly deserving of this accolade".
The Screen Winners
Film: Shakespeare in Love
Director: Peter Weir, The Truman Show
Screenplay: Andrew Niccol, The Truman Show
Screenplay (Adapted): Elaine May, Primary Colors
Actress: Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
Actor: Roberto Benigni, Life Is Beautiful
Supporting Actress: Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love
Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush, Shakespeare in Love
Alexander Korda award for outstanding film: Elizabeth
Foreign Film: Central do Brazil
Newcomer: Richard Kwietniowski, director, Love and Death on Long Island.
Cinematography: Remi Adefarasin, Elizabeth
Production Design: Dennis Gassner, The Truman Show
Costume Design: Sandy Powell, Velvet Goldmine
Editing: David Gamble, Shakespeare in Love
Sound: Saving Private Ryan
Special Effects: Saving Private Ryan
Make-up/Hair: Jenny Shircore, Elizabeth
Short Film: Home
Short Animated Film: The Canterbury Tales
The Orange Audience Award: Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels