Four Weddings And A Funeral, Britain's most successful film, scooped three prizes last night at the only awards ceremony devoted to British films. But it failed to win the best film title, taken by Jim Sheridan's In The Name Of The Father.
The Evening Standard British Film Awards, selected by film critics, was notable for two award winners in addition to the continuing success of Four Weddings and its star, Hugh Grant.
The first of these was a special award to Sir Alec Guinness, 80, to celebrate his cinema career which has included classics such as The Bridge On The River Kwai and Oliver Twist. Dame Diana Rigg, presenting the award, called him "the highest exemplar of his art".
The other significant winner was Ben Kingsley, for his performance in Schindler's List. Though this was not a British film the honouring of Kingsley for his role as the Jewish accountant was hugely applauded.
In The Name Of The Father had a controversial reception when it was released, mixing fact and fiction in its telling of the Guildford Four story. Starring Daniel Day Lewis as Gerry Conlon, it beat other contenders last night which included Shadowlands, Ladybird Ladybird, Tom And Viv, and Backbeat.
Ben Kingsley beat two contenders from the same film, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Kristin Scott Thomas took the best actress award for Four Weddings.
Four Weddings, the box office success of the year with an international gross of $160m, also took best screenplay for its author, Richard Curtis.
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