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The BBC's Nicky Albon
"Another great night for American Beauty"
 real 28k

Friday, 3 March, 2000, 05:59 GMT
Beauty outshines the Bard
Sam Mendes with actress Miranda Richardson
Victor Sam Mendes with actress Miranda Richardson
Box office hit American Beauty has swept the board at a critics' awards ceremony - leaving last year's Oscars' hit Shakespeare in Love with nothing.

The two films had rivalled each other at the top of the nominations list for this year's Awards of the London Film Critics Circle (Alfs), in the running for seven each.

Main award winners
British Film of the Year - East Is East
Film of the Year - American Beauty
Special Achievement Award - Mike Leigh
Actress of the Year - Annette Bening (American Beauty)
Actor of the Year - Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)
But American Beauty stole the glory at the London ceremony by taking five trophies, including Film of the Year.

American Beauty, a dark US suburban satire, is already shortlisted for eight Oscars and 14 Baftas. Shakespeare in Love won seven Oscars last year.

The film's maker, British high-flier Sam Mendes, was rewarded as Best Director.

It also won honours for Best Screenwriter Alan Ball, Best Actor Kevin Spacey and Best Actress Annette Bening.

Mendes said: "I worked for 10 years in the theatre and won one award and I seem to be winning one every day at the moment.

East is East
East is East was best British film
"It's strange but it's very nice. I think on some level some part of me never thought the film would be a hit until it hit Britain. I was on tenterhooks until it opened here."

Thanking the critics, Mendes said it was partly their enthusiastic response which had helped the film do so well.

Low-budget British hit East Is East was also the winner of more than one award.

It was named Best British Film, won the Best British Screenwriter prize for Ayub Khan Din, and Best British Producer for Leslee Udwin.

The movie has already been picked out for six possible Baftas.

Best actors

Emily Watson was shocked to be named Best British Actress for her roles in Angela's Ashes and Hilary and Jackie.

Best British Actor was Jeremy Northam, adding to a growing list of awards he has won for his roles in The Winslow Boy and An Ideal Husband.

Emily Watson and Jeremy Northam
Best of British: Emily Watson and Jeremy Northam
Screen veteran Michael Caine - another Oscar contender - took the Best Supporting Actor title for his seedy agent in Little Voice.

In a taped message, he joked to guests: "I'd like to thank the critics for at last giving me a good time. You gave me a lifetime achievement last year without actually noticing that I've achieved anything."

Lynne Ramsay was honoured as Best British Director for her film Ratcatcher, set in Glasgow during the binmen's strike of the 1970s.

Mike Leigh, known for a string of gritty comedies, was given a special achievement award.

The full list of winners is:

  • Foreign Language Film of the Year - All About My Mother

  • British Newcomer of the Year - Martha Fiennes (Onegin)

  • British Screenwriter of the Year - Ayub Khan Din (East Is East)

  • Screenwriter of the Year - Alan Ball (American Beauty)

  • British Supporting Actress of the Year - Lynn Redgrave (Gods and Monsters)

  • British Supporting Actor of the Year - Michael Caine (Little Voice)

  • British Producer of the Year - Leslee Udwin (East is East)

  • British Actress of the Year - Emily Watson (Angela's Ashes, Hilary and Jackie)

  • Actress of the Year - Annette Bening (American Beauty)

  • British Actor of the Year - Jeremy Northam (Happy Texas, An Ideal Husband, The Winslow Boy)

  • Actor of the Year - Kevin Spacey (American Beauty)

  • British Director of the Year - Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher)

  • Director of the Year - Sam Mendes (American Beauty)

  • British Film of the Year - East Is East

  • Film of the Year - American Beauty

  • Special Achievement Award - Mike Leigh

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    See also:

    01 Mar 00 |  Entertainment
    American Beauty tops Bafta shortlist
    22 Mar 99 |  The Oscars 1999
    Oscars glory for Brits
    15 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
    American Beauty leads Oscars field
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