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Saturday, 18 April, 1998, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Stars shine for British film awards
Monty
The Full Monty is up for 11 Bafta awards
The Oscars it definitely is not, but London is still welcoming some of Hollywood's top names for the British film industry's big awards night.

Compared to the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown's Academy Awards, the Baftas is a low-key affair - more in tune with Britain's acclaimed, if modest, film industry.

Trophy
Home-grown products usually win most Baftas
But reputation goes far, which is why stars like Julia Roberts, Sigourney Weaver and Michael Caine are all on the guest list for Sunday night's gong show.

Set up in 1947, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has run a combined awards festival, for big and small screen, for the past 50 years.

But this year, each will have a dedicated ceremony, to reflect the rising stature of Britain's film industry, says the Academy. The television awards night will be held next month.

American-produced pictures such as The Ice Storm and the multi-Oscar-winning Titanic are in the running, while LA Confidential crowns the list of hopefuls with 12 nominations.

Atkinson
Rowan Aktinson's performance as Mr Bean will go unrewarded at the Baftas
But Bafta is traditionally more sympathetic to home-grown products and this year the British-made comedy, The Full Monty, is expected to do well from its 11 nominations. Other pictures in the running are Mrs Brown, Nil By Mouth, Twentyfourseven and Regeneration.

Of course, where artistic judgement is at stake, controversy follows in its wake. One note of discord is the fact that last year's biggest-grossing British film, Bean, remains absent from the nomination list drawn up by Bafta's 3,000 members.

Peter Bennett-Jones, chairman of Tiger Aspect Productions which made the film for Polygram, called the Academy "snobbish".

The comedy, which originated on TV and starred Rowan Atkinson as the hapless eccentric Mr Bean, took 137m at the box office. The unusual decision to give the film its worldwide premiere in Australia, was due to the negative attitude in Britain, Mr Atkinson has said.

Connery
Sean Connery will receive a lifetime achievement award
A total of 21 awards will be announced on the night, covering the broad spectrum of film-making disciplines from acting and writing to cinematography and costume design.

Sean Connery will be the only nominee at the ceremony who already knows his fate. The 67-year-old Scottish actor who made his name in seven James Bond movies, will receive the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement.

He is set to join a select club of previous winners that includes Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin, John Gielgud, David Lean and Steven Spielberg.

See also:

12 Mar 98 | UK
Full Monty tops Bafta list
28 Mar 98 | Oscars
Brits sink at Oscars
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