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Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 14:47 GMT
Oscar hopeful Caine honoured
Caine has been flying the flag for Britain for four decades
Movie star Michael Caine has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award at a British movie awards ceremony.

The accolade comes just two days after the 66-year-old learned he was in the running for an Oscar.

He picked up his fourth Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as an unorthodox abortion doctor in The Cider House Rules on Tuesday.

Kenneth Branagh picks up his Inspiration award
Caine was handed his latest honour at the annual Empire magazine awards for a career stretching back more than four decades.

Currently shooting his latest movie, Shiner, in London, Caine's screen credits include Alfie, The Italian Job, The Ipcress File, gangster classic Get Carter and Sleuth.

His awards include a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for 1986's Hannah and Her Sisters, a Best Actor Golden Globe for 1998's Little Voice, plus a Best Actor Bafta trophy for 1983's Educating Rita.

Caine said he was delighted to be receiving an accolade directly from the viewing public.

He added: "I've always felt that in the English establishment press I was a bit of a joke. Thank you for proving them wrong."

"I'm still working and I will continue working and Empire magazine is going to have to figure out a way of giving me another Lifetime Achievement award in 15 years' time," he joked.

Most of the awards were chosen by readers of the movie magazine, although a number of special awards - including Caine's - were decided by film experts.

Homegrown hit

Notting Hill, Britain's biggest box office smash, was the main winner at the Empire awards, taking three titles.

Its haul included best British film, best British actor for Hugh Grant's performance and best British director for film-maker Roger Michell.

Pierce Brosnan collects his prize
However, the gentle romantic comedy lost out on the overall best film title to the big budget special effects-laden movie The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves.

Other box office stars to gain recognition at the ceremony included James Bond star Pierce Brosnan, who was rewarded for his work in the latest 007 adventure The World Is Not Enough by taking the international best actor title.

Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow repeated her Oscars success of last year by taking the best actress title for Shakespeare In Love.

Supernatural tale The Sixth Sense, which had been nominated for five awards, left with just one prize for the film's director, M Night Shyamalan.

Helena Bonham Carter arrives at the ceremony
Low budget hit East Is East won its director Damien O'Donnell the award for best debut and Helena Bonham Carter was named best British actress for her part in the controversial Fight Club.

She told the audience: "Thanks very much - I love winning awards."

Actor, director and writer Kenneth Branagh was handed an "inspiration" award. He said: "I'm astonished. I'm very, very, very touched and I'm grateful."

Director Oliver Stone was awarded a "movie masterpiece" award for his epic JFK, about the investigation into the shooting of US President John F Kennedy.

Industrial Light & Magic, the team behind the special effects of the Star Wars films, was given a special award for contribution to cinema.

See also:

09 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Michael Caine turns novelist
11 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Get Carter: Original and best
15 Feb 00 | Entertainment
American Beauty leads Oscars field
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