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Jamie Bell talks to BBC News Online
"I don't really think it'll increase my pay cheque"
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Julie Walters
"This is very special to me"
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Stephen Daldry
"An emotional roller coaster from start to finish"
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Ridley Scott
"I forgot the cast"
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Albert Finney
"It's quite a big late winter and spring for me"
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Sunday, 25 February, 2001, 22:51 GMT
Gladiator conquers the Baftas
Gladiator: One more award than Crouching Tiger
Roman epic Gladiator has won five Baftas, while Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell and Julia Roberts won the awards for best actor and actress at London's star-studded event.

Ridley Scott's gladiatorial drama won the most awards, including two prizes for best film, while martial arts epic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was hot on its heels with four.

The audience whooped with delight as a shocked-looking Bell collected his award, thanking everyone involved in the film while also giving a wry nod to Gladiator star Russell Crowe who "said I had to thank him".

The ceremony, hosted by actor and author Stephen Fry, was brought forward this year so it was a full month ahead of the Oscars, rather than trailing in their wake.

Goldie Hawn and Jamie Bell
Goldie Hawn hugs a surprised Jamie Bell
Fry told the audience at London's Odeon Leicester Square the evening was about honouring the whole film industry, adding "but it is also part of Bafta's philosophy to honour our own British film industry".

Julie Walters, who won her Bafta for best supporting actress for her role as a dance teacher in Billy Elliot, said winning a Bafta was in many ways more special than being recognised by Hollywood.

"This is really special. This is my home, this is where I live and work."

Jamie Bell also told the crowd how delighted he was to win, saying: "To be nominated with all these guys - Tom Hanks, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Douglas - I was kind of thinking of not bothering coming because I thought what's the point?"

Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts: Best actress
But the 14-year old later added it was "no good getting too big-headed".

And Ridley Scott, whose Bafta success bodes well for next month's Oscars, said: I'm really honoured, particularly as I'm winning this award on my own turf, even though I spend most of my time in the United States."

Julia Roberts, unable to attend the ceremony, won best actress for her performance as a single mother battling the odds in Erin Brockovich.

Crouching Tiger director Ang Lee was touched by the award, saying: "This is smashing. This is a fantasy we came up with - thank you for sharing that vision."

The glittering event, in London's west end, attracted many A-list actors, including Cast Away lead Tom Hanks, Juliette Binoche, up for best actress in Chocolat, and Gladiator stars Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix.

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe: No award this time
Quills star Kate Winslet, Notting Hill lead Hugh Grant and pop icon Elton John also turned up to present awards, while Culture Secretary Chris Smith was there to lend his support.

The Baftas arguably had a far higher star quotient than in recent years, not least because they give them one more dress rehearsal before the Academy Awards on 25 March.

The only major contender who was not in attendance is Michael Douglas, nominated for best actor for Wonder Boys, who starts shooting Till Death Do Us Part the same day.

Bafta chairman Simon Relph said the decision to move the Bafta film awards - the only other international awards apart from the Oscars - was to "create a lot more interest" in them both in the UK and globally.

Michelle Yeoh
Michelle Yeoh proudly holds one of Crouching Tiger's awards
Special awards were given to casting director Mary Selway, for outstanding British contribution of cinema, and Albert Finney, who received Academy Fellowship.

Selway is credited for her work on Out Of Africa, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Notting Hill and Captain Corelli's Mandolin, as well as spotting Richard E Grant for his infamous role in Withnail and I.

And Finney, described by Dame Maggie Smith as "much loved and respected" by his fellow actors thanked Bafta and everyone he had worked with in film "for being part of my life; for giving me a good time; for helping me to be very fortunate".

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26 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Billy Elliot director 'delighted'
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