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Monday, 7 February, 2000, 14:36 GMT
East is East is best
West meets East: ( Stella) Emma Moorhouse and (Tariq) Jimi Mistry
Low budget Asian comedy East is East has been declared Best Film at the 27th Evening Standard British Film Awards.

The tale of a traditional Muslim father forced to review long-held beliefs by his seven children scooped the coveted award at a ceremony in London's Savoy Hotel.

Hot couple: Guy Ritchie and Madonna
The star guest of the evening was pop icon Madonna, with her British boyfriend Guy Ritchie, director of hit gangland comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Among the other winners was Jeremy Northam, who won the Best Actor title for his roles in An Ideal Husband and The Winslow Boy, and Samantha Morton, whose performance in Dreaming of Joseph Lees won her the Best Actress accolade.

Playwright Tom Stoppard capped a successful year for his multi-Oscar and Bafta-winning Shakespeare in Love - a week after its success at the South Bank Show Awards - winning his third major Best Screenplay prize.

Notting Hill cemented its status as the highest-grossing home-grown movie of all time, by winning the Peter Sellers Award for Comedy.

And the Special Award for lifetime achievement was handed to acclaimed cinematographer Freddie Francis by double Oscar-winning actress Jessica Lange, who worked with him on Martin Scorsese's 1992 remake of Cape Fear.

Debate

One of the judges, Evening Standard critic Neil Norman, said: "There were loads of British films made last year, and among those which caused a bit of debate were Notting Hill, The Winslow Boy, The Warzone, Orphans and Ratcatcher," he said.

Recognition for smash hit Notting Hill
The success of East is East, directed by Damien O'Donnell and starring Linda Bassett as frustrated Ella, follows hot on the heels of a string of other awards for the film.

Last year, its scriptwriter, Ayub Khan-Din, won Best Original Screenplay title at the British Independent Film Awards, and Bassett herself was named Best Actress at the Valladolid International Film Festival, with O'Donnell taking the prestigious Golden Spike.

The full list of this year's awards and their winners is as follows:

  • Best Film: East is East
  • Best Actor: Jeremy Northam, for An Ideal Husband and The Winslow Boy
  • Best Actress: Samantha Morton, for Dreaming of Joseph Lees
  • The Peter Sellers Award for Comedy: Notting Hill
  • Best Screenplay: Tom Stoppard for Shakespeare in Love
  • Evening Standard/Carlton Television Most Promising Newcomer Award: Peter Mullan for Orphans
  • Technical Achievement Award: John de Borman for Hideous Kinky
  • Special Award: Freddie Francis.

Judges for this year's awards were Neil Norman, Angie Errigo, of Empire magazine, Evening Standard film critic Alexander Walker, Derek Malcolm, of the Guardian, and journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

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