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Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 12:04 GMT
Vinnie crowned Best Actor
Vinnie Jones celebrating his Best British Actor award
Vinnie Jones: Delighted
Soccer hardman Vinnie Jones was all smiles after picking up an award for his performance in the hit movie Snatch at the Empire Film Awards.

The footballer-turned-actor was named Best British Actor at the magazine awards for his portrayal of Bullet Tooth Tony in the box office smash.

The film also picked up an award for its director Guy Ritchie, named Best British Director.

The former Wimbledon FC player - who was eligible to play for Wales through his Ruthin-born grandfather - beat off competition from Sir Michael Caine, Jude Law and Robert Carlyle to scoop the award, voted for by Empire readers.

Jones, 36, made his acting debut in Ritchie's first feature film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Winners
Best Debut: Jamie Bell
Best British Actor: Vinnie Jones
Best British Actress: Julie Walters
Best British Director: Guy Ritchie
Best British Film: Billy Elliot
Best Director: Bryan Singer
Best Actor: Russell Crowe
Best Actress: Connie Nielson
Best Film: Gladiator
Inspiration: Nick Park and Peter Lord
Lifetime Achievement: Richard Harris
Collecting his award, Jones said he loved working in Hollywood but insisted he was not moving to Los Angeles permanently.

He said: "Our kids go to school here, our family home is here. I am a British lad and I like flying the flag for us all."

Jones, who is currently working on the film Swordfish with John Travolta, added: "I fly the flag on my trailer which John Travolta is not very happy about but I told him to get in the gym and bring a few mates the next time he wants to take it down."

Honours for Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot also picked up a string of honours at the award ceremony held at the Dorchester Hotel in London.

Actress Julie Walters was voted Best British Actress Award and 14-year-old Jamie Bell won Best Debut.

Star of Billy Elliot, Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell picked up Best Debut for his role in Billy Elliot
It also scooped the gong for Best British Film.

Irish-born actor Richard Harris received a lifetime award - his second in a fortnight.

Last week Harris, who has starred in films such as This Sporting Life and A Man Called Horse, picked up the same accolade from the London Film Critics' Circle.

Oscar-nominated epic Gladiator was named Best Film and its stars, Russell Crowe and Connie Nielson, picked up Best Actor and Actress titles.

Nick Park and Peter Lord of Aardman Animations were presented with awards for Inspiration for their work in productions such as Chicken Run.

The Best Director award was won by Bryan Singer for his superhero action film X-Men.

See also:

26 Feb 99 | Entertainment
Vinnie's awards hat-trick
16 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Vinnie Jones: Hard man with soft centre
01 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Guy and Vinnie get flash
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