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Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 05:27 GMT 06:27 UK


Shakespeare and Elizabeth dominate Baftas

Elizabeth won five awards from 12 nominations

British audiences have been spared another sobbing Gwyneth Paltrow acceptance speech, as Cate Blanchett won Best Actress at the 51st Bafta Film Awards.

The BBC's Rosie Millard: "It was a great night for anyone called Elizabeth"
The "deeply shocked" Ms Blanchett was among five winners from the 12-times nominated Elizabeth, which narrowly triumphed over period-drama rival and Oscar sensation Shakespeare in Love.

Cate Blanchett: "I am so shocked"
After the presentation, the Australian actress said: "I thought I needed to go to the loo, and I still do. I am excited, and I am thrilled."

Despite Ms Paltrow's failure to complement her Oscar win with a Bafta, Shakespeare In Love did secure the coveted Best Film award - but took away just four wins from its 15 nominations.

The BBC's Louise Minchin: "Cate was over the moon"
Elizabeth, which recounts the tumultuous early life of England's Queen Elizabeth I, won Best British Film.

Roberto Benigni reprised his Oscar win with the Best Actor title for Life Is Beautiful, his Italian-language comedy set in a Nazi concentration camp.

'Like a water melon'

[ image: Cate Blanchett:
Cate Blanchett: "Deeply shocked"
In a tamer acceptance speech that - unlike his reaction at the Oscars - did not involve jumping on furniture, he said: "This is my first prize in England.

"Really, I'm full of joy like a water melon, there's something that explodes. I cannot restrain this joy."

He beat hotly-tipped Michael Caine, who staged a return to form after a series of indifferent films with his powerful role in Little Voice.

Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor made a rare public appearance to receive her Fellowship Award from Mr Caine.

She used her acceptance speech to promote her campaign on behalf of Aids sufferers and blamed British quarantine restrictions on her dog for keeping her out of the UK for the last seven years.

"I am here to thank you for this most incredible award, but I never in my lifetime thought I would receive, I guess because I don't think of myself as an actress and I don't think any of you did," she said.

[ image: Roberto Benigni:
Roberto Benigni: "Full of joy like a water melon"
Best Supporting Actor went to Geoffrey Rush for Shakespeare In Love. The Oscar-winning star of the 1996 film Shine was a fairly safe bet with two nominations - the other for Elizabeth - in the same category.

Dame Judi Dench showed consistency as she added the Best Supporting Actress award to her Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love, in which she portrayed the Tudor queen in the prime of her power.

She adds the trophy to last year's Best Actress Bafta for playing another queen - on that occasion Victoria - in the film Mrs Brown.

Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, dubbed by some critics the "best British movie ever", walked away with the Orange Audience award.

Disappointing night for Spielberg

[ image: Michael Caine: Fellowship Award for Elizabeth Taylor]
Michael Caine: Fellowship Award for Elizabeth Taylor
The award is the only one chosen by cinema-going audiences and caps a year of triumphs for the low-budget heist caper set in London's East End.

Saving Private Ryan, which won Steven Spielberg Best Director at the Oscars, had a disappointing night with just two awards, for Best Special Effects and Best Sound.

The Truman Show did marginally better with three awards, including Best Director for Peter Weir.

The Best Make-Up Bafta went to Jenny Shircore for Elizabeth and Best Costume to Sandy Powell for British glam rock extravaganza Velvet Goldmine.

The Carl Forman Award for best newcomer to British film was taken home by director Richard Kwietniowski, whose films include Love and Death on Long Island.

'Some winners are here'

[ image: Elizabeth Taylor: Won the Bafta Fellowship prize]
Elizabeth Taylor: Won the Bafta Fellowship prize
Actor John Hurt said he had been chosen to present the award because he was the only person who could actually pronounce Kwietniowski.

Other notables attending the star-studded ceremony at the Business Design Centre in Islington were Gwyneth Paltrow, Pierce Brosnan, Alicia Silverstone and Lynn Redgrave.

Absentees included Judi Dench and Geoffrey Rush, both of whom are overseas working on their latest projects.

The number of winners who failed to attend prompted host Jonathan Ross to promise: "A lot of the people who have won awards are actually here."

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts last year split its film and TV award ceremonies. Nominations for the TV awards will be announced on 19 April, with the ceremony to come on 9 May.

For a full list of Bafta winners, click here.

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