Rings proves Lord of the BAFTAs

Story by Jack Foley

PETER Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, was the big winner at Sunday's BAFTA awards (2002), picking up three of the major honours, including Best Film and Best Director.

The first part of JRR Tolkien's trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring also picked up the coveted Orange Film of the Year award (as voted for by the public).

The glittering awards ceremony, which was held at the Odeon Leicester Square, was presented by Stephen Fry (who was amusing and eloquent throughout) and attracted a host of big name stars from both sides of the Atlantic, including Nicole Kidman, Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and Kate Winslet.

Jackson's epic (now surely a hot tip for Oscar glory) also secured prizes for its special effects and make up and hair. The director was understandably elated, thanking everyone who had worked their guts out over the past 16 months.

Other award winners of the night were indielondon favourites Gosford Park, Iris and Amores Perros. Gosford Park picked up the Alexander Korda Award for outstanding British film, which was collected by its director Robert Altman; Iris picked up the Best Actress Award for Dame Judi Dench (who subsequently confessed to losing a £1 million bet with her agent), and Amores Perros took the Best Film not in an English language accolade.

A Beautiful Mind was recognised with awards for its star, Russell Crowe (Best Actor) and co-star Jennifer Connelly (Best Supporting Actress), while British Oscar hopeful Jim Broadbent walked off with the Best Supporting Actor prize for his role in Moulin Rouge.

Special awards were handed out to Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for the Bond series (now celebrating its 40th anniversary) and Warren Beatty, who was 'moved' to receive the Academy Fellowship for his contribution to cinema.

Among the night's biggest losers, however, were young Harry Potter - which left empty handed - and actress Nicole Kidman, who had been tipped for success for her performance in The Others.

The focus of attention now shifts from the rain-swept streets of London to the sun-drenched vistas of Los Angeles for the Oscars, which take place exactly one month to the day... don't bet against Jackson running Rings around the opposition again!

How the evening unfolded (the highlights)...

Presented by Stephen Fry

The first winner of the night was Gosford Park, which took the Alexander Korda award for outstanding British Film. Its director, Robert Altman, received the award from Paul Bettany and Nicole Kidman and said that it was 'a great experience to make this English film'.

Ocean's Eleven co-star Don Cheadle then presented the Best Supporting Actress award to Jennifer Connelly for her performance in A Beautiful Mind. The stunning actress (who shot to fame as a teenage star in Labyrinth) admitted to being 'flabergasted' and 'very much honoured', before describing the women in her category as 'truly extraordinary'. She also paid tribute to the film's director, Ron Howard, its star, Russell Crowe, her crew, and film company Universal.

Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense star who will shortly appear alongside Hugh Grant, or 'Huge Grunt' as Fry joked, in About A Boy) presented the Best Supporting Actor award to Jim Broadbent for Moulin Rouge and the jovial star quipped: "I don't think this is really justified." He went on to thank director Baz Luhrmann 'because he is a complete genius without whom I would have had a very dull last two years'.

Kevin Spacey presented the BAFTA for Best film not in the English language to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for another Indielondon favourite, Amores Perros. The excitable young director was overjoyed, and said the inspiration for the film came while he was living in London.

Brit newcomers Joel Hopkins and Nicola Usbourne took the The Carl Foreman award for British newcomer for Jump Tomorrow and thanked everyone from the film company to their families. They also took away a cheque for £10,000.

The Bond films, which celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, were recognised with a BAFTA special award, presented to Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli by Dame Judi Dench (who plays M in the later films).

Jamie Bell presented the Orange Film of the Year Award to Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The accolade is the only one voted for by members of the public and its director, Jackson, thanked all those who voted for it. He added: "I'm very honoured to accept it on behalf of everyone who really worked their guts out over the last 16 months."

The Bond theme continued later on when new Bond babe Halle Berry presented the Best Actor award to Russell Crowe for A Beautiful Mind. The New Zealand-born star, who was raised in Australia, thanked the British Academy, saying it was an honour to win and went on to praise the film's director, Ron Howard, for the 'care and attention to detail' he showed while making the film, cast members, including the 'mischievous' Jennifer Connelly, and John and Alicia Nash for 'allowing him to explore his life'.

Kate Winslet presented the Best Director award to Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, who confessed to wanting to make films since he was 10 years old. He then paid special thanks to the very important people in his life - his mother, father and two children.

Dustin Hoffman presented the Best Actress in a leading role award to Dame Judi Dench for her performance in Iris. Dame Judi paid special tribute to screenplay writers, Richard Eyre and Charles Wood, as well as to Miramax, without whom the film may never have been made. She added: "We had a wonderful time filming it, contrary to what you may see on screen and I must say, sincerely, thank you."

The final award, Best Film, was presented by screen legend and Reservoir Dog Harvey Keitel, who revealed it to be... The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.

Jackson, during his third appearance at the podium, praised the people of New Zealand for their support while filming and, naturally, Professor Tolkien, who provided the inspiration for the movie.

The final award of the night was presented by Ian McKellen to Warren Beatty, who received The Academy Fellowship for his contribution to cinema. The actor spoke fondly of his time working in England, poked fun at the refreshing lack of commercials and build-ups during the ceremony, and thanked the people of the British film community for their encouragement and inspiration, as well as the quality and the quantity of the time they had given him over the years. "I am very moved and very happy," he added.

The winners in full:

Best film - Winner, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Nominees: Amelie; A Beautiful Mind; The Lord of the Rings; Moulin Rouge; Shrek.

The Orange Film of the Year (as voted by the general public) - Winner, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Nominees: American Pie 2, Bridget Jones's Diary, Cats and Dogs, Hannibal, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Jurassic Park 3, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, The Mummy Returns, Shrek

Best actor - Winner, Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind)
Nominees: Jim Broadbent (Iris); Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind); Sir Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings); Kevin Spacey (The Shipping News); Tom Wilkinson (In The Bedroom).

Best actress - Winner, Dame Judi Dench (Iris)
Nominees: Dame Judi Dench (Iris); Nicole Kidman (The Others); Sissy Spacek (In The Bedroom); Audrey Tautou (Amelie); Renee Zellweger (Bridget Jones' Diary).

The Alexander Korda award for outstanding British film - Winner, Gosford Park
Nominees: Bridget Jones' Diary; Harry Potter and Philosopher's Stone; Iris; Me Without You.

The Carl Foreman award for British newcomer - Winner, Joel Hopkins & Nicola Usbourne (Jump Tomorrow)
Nominees: Steve Coogan/Henry Normal (The Parole Officer); Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park); Joel Hopkins/Nicola Usbourne (Jump Tomorrow); Ruth Kenley-Letts (Strictly Sinatra); Jack Lothian (Late Night Shopping); Richard Parry (South West 9).

The David Lean award for achievement in direction - Winner, Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring)
Nominees: Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet); A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard); Gosford Park (Robert Altman); Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson); Moulin Rouge (Baz Luhrmann).

Best supporting actress - Winner, Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind)
Nominees: Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind); Dame Judi Dench (The Shipping News); Helen Mirren (Gosford Park); Dame Maggie Smith (Gosford Park); Kate Winslet (Iris).

Best supporting actor, Winner, Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge)
Nominees: Hugh Bonneville (Iris); Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge); Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone); Colin Firth (Bridget Jones' Diary); Eddie Murphy (Shrek).

Best original screenplay - Winner, Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Guillaume Laurant (Amelie)
Nominees: Amelie; Gosford Park; Moulin Rouge; The Others; The Royal Tenenbaums.

Best adapted screenplay - Winner, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Roger SH Schulman & Joe Stillman (Shrek)
Nominees: A Beautiful Mind; Bridget Jones' Diary; Iris; The Lord of the Rings; Shrek.

Best cinematography - Winner, Roger Deakins (The Man Who Wasn't There)
Nominees: Amelie, Black Hawk Down, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; The Man Who Wasn't There; Moulin Rouge

Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema: Vic Armstrong (industry stunt co-ordinator and director of action units for movies such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Tomorrow Never Dies)

Best Film not in an English Language: Winner, Amores Perros
Nominees: Behind The Sun, Amelie, Monsoon Wedding, The Piano Teacher, Amores Perros

Fellowship: Merchant Ivory

BAFTA special tribute to 40 years of 007: Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli

The Academy Fellowship: Received by Warren Beatty

Other winners:
Production Design - Winner, Amelie (Aline Bonetto)

Costume Design - Winner, Gosford Park (Jenny Beavan)

Editing - Winner, Mulholland Drive (Mary Sweeney)

Sound - Winner, Moulin Rouge

Achievement in Special Visual Effects - The Lord of the Rings

Make up/hair - Winner, The Lord of the Rings

Short Film - Winner, About a Girl (Janey de Nordwall/Brian Percival/Julie Rutterford)

Short Animation - Winner, Dog (Suzie Templeton)

The Anthony Asquith Award for achievement in film music - Winner, Moulin Rouge (Craig Armstrong)