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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 21:00 GMT
First award blood to Caine
Sir Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine: Also presented an award

Oscar-nominated British actor Sir Michael Caine has been named actor of the year at a key UK awards ceremony.

The London Film Critics' Circle gave Caine the honour on Wednesday for his performance in the movie based on Graham Greene's novel, The Quiet American.

In the movie, Caine, 69, plays a journalist caught up in a love triangle in 1950s Saigon.

Caine beat fellow nominee Jack Nicholson, up for his role in About Schmidt - a battle that is set for a re-match at the Oscars on 23 March.

But Nicholson did not leave empty-handed as his movie, in which he plays a grumpy widower who travels across America after his wife dies, was named film of the year.

Other winners included Hugh Grant, voted best British actor for his role in About A Boy, and Lesley Manville, best British actress for the Mike Leigh film All Or Nothing.

Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson: The race is on
Actress of the year was former Grease star Stockard Channing, who won for the thriller The Business of Strangers.

Kenneth Branagh was voted best British supporting actor for his role as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, while Emily Watson was named best British supporting actress for the Hannibal Lecter sequel Red Dragon.

The best British newcomer award was shared between Bend It Like Beckham star Keira Knightley and Martin Compston, who impressed the critics with his debut performance in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen.

All Or Nothing, Leigh's slice of life on a south London housing estate, was voted British film of the year.

Caine also presented an outstanding contribution award to director Lewis Gilbert, 82, whose credits include Educating Rita, Alfie, Shirley Valentine and The Spy Who Loved Me.

The awards were held at the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. Proceeds from the event are being donated to the NSPCC.



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