'Scotland,' 'Pan's Labyrinth' triumph at BAFTA honors
EmptyLONDON -- Idi Amin biopic "The Last King of Scotland" and Guillermo del Toro's rich gothic fairy tale "Pan's Labyrinth" swept through this year's Orange British Academy Awards, winning three awards each at the gala ceremony held Sunday night at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
It also was a good night for Helen Mirren, whose winning run of awards continued after regal contemporary drama "The Queen" earned her the best actress award and was named best film.
Mirren paid tribute to Britain's Elizabeth II, whom she said she "hugely respected" and whose character she had been trying to reach through her performance.
"That's the person I'm trying to constantly fight my way to being, not like my own chaotic Helen Mirreny self," she said. "Just to be nominated on that great powerhouse of talent was fantastic."
Mirren dedicated her award to British actor Ian Richardson, who died last week.
Producer Andy Harries thanked Granada and ITV "for recognizing the film's vision" and called on the some of the film's $100 million receipts to be plowed back into the British film industry.
Director Stephen Frears said "Queen" was "not a sensational film, in my opinion, but the way it was received was exceptional."
Filmmaker Paul Greengrass was honored with the David Lean Award for achievement in directing for his film "United 93."
"Scotland" was honored with the Alexander Korda Award for outstanding British film of the year, one of the seven awards hosted on the night to be voted for by the BAFTA jury. It earned actor Forest Whitaker the much-coveted best actor trophy for his tour de force as the despotic Ugandan dictator, seeing off competition from Daniel Craig, Leonardo DiCaprio, Peter O'Toole and Richard Griffiths.
Whitaker paid tribute to director Kevin MacDonald, executive producer Tessa Ross and co-star James McAvoy in his acceptance speech. "I have to thank (McAvoy), his support made my work shine," the actor said.
"Scotland" also won the best adapted screenplay award for writer Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock.
"Labyrinth," set against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain, took home awards for best film not in the English language, best costume design and best makeup and hair.
"Little Miss Sunshine" won Alan Arkin the best supporting actor award and also took the award for original screenplay for Michael Arndt ahead of competition from "United 93" and "Queen."
The glittering awards saw London's Bow Street transformed into a red carpet zone ahead of the ceremony, after which guests moved to the Grosvenor House for a gala dinner and a series of parties hosted by BAFTA, Pathe and Fox Searchlight.
Jennifer Hudson won best supporting actress for her role in "Dreamgirls" in a category contested by Emily Blunt, Abigail Breslin, Frances de la Tour and Toni Collette.
Veteran film editor Ann Coates, who has worked on such diverse films as "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Elephant Man," "Chaplin" and "Out of Sight," was honored with the Academy Fellowship, while location manager Nick Daubeny was presented with the Michael Balcon Award for outstanding British contribution to cinema.
It was a solid night for revamped James Bond movie "Casino Royale," which, though it missed out on the major categories, won the best sound award. Eva Green, who played Vesper Lynd, was named Orange Rising Star Award, an honor that was voted by the public.
Andrea Arnold's gritty thriller "Red Road" was named winner of the Carl Foreman first feature film award, while "Do Not Erase" won the short film award. The short animation award went to "Guy 101." BAFTA's nationwide short film award was handed to Alex Garcia for "Happy Birthday Grandad."
The awards aired on BBC1.