SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE repeated its Oscar triumph last night, winning Best Film at the Bafta Awards. However, Gwyneth Paltrow, who attended the ceremony, was beaten to Best Actress by the star of Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett.
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.
John Madden, director of Shakespeare in Love, poked gentle fun at Paltrow's Oscar speech when he received the award for Best Film. He said: "I'd like to thank Gwyneth's family, but time doesn't allow."
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, Richard E Grant, Pierce Brosnan and John Hurt attended the 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. Although he did not leap over chairs as he did at the Oscars, he still gave a virtuoso performance from the stage: "This is my first prize in England. I am full of joy like a watermelon. I will explode. I cannot restrain this joy," he said. Surprisingly, Saving Private Ryan did not win any leading awards, but did triumph in the Best Sound and Best Special Effects categories.
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.
Her speech was one of the more curious an award ceremony has heard. After explaining that she had not been in Britain for seven years because of the quarantine laws, she said: "I have never really thought of myself as an actress, I haven't tried, really, to act for God-knows how many years. I don't think of myself as an actress and I didn't think any of you did. This award makes me want to act again."
The Truman Show won three awards, including Best Director for Peter Weir.
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
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