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The Aviator and Vera Drake share Bafta honours



Story by: Jack Foley

HONOURS were even between Martin Scorsese's lavish Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator, and Mike Leigh's gritty abortion drama, Vera Drake, at the 2005 Bafta film awards.

At a glittering ceremony on Saturday night (February 12, 2005), The Aviator was named best film, while Mike Leigh was crowned best director for Vera Drake.

Both films picked up further notable awards - The Aviator gained a best supporting actress accolade for Cate Blanchett, while Imelda Staunton took the highly coveted best actress prize.

In the other main award categories, there were wins for Jamie Foxx, who was named best actor for Ray, and Clive Owen, who took best supporting actor for Closer.

Both Foxx and Owen repeated their success at the Golden Globes, furthering their chances of Oscar success.

Another hotly-tipped Brit, Kate Winslet, left the ceremony empty-handed, however, despite being nominated for her roles in both Finding Neverland and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

In what proved to be a great night for The Aviator, however, it also received prizes for best make-up and hair, even though its central star, Leonardo DiCaprio, was beaten to the best actor prize by Foxx.

Vera Drake also scooped best costume design.

Other prizes went to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which received the Orange Film Of The Year, as voted for by the public.

And The Motorcycle Diaries, which took best foreign film and best music.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind won two awards, for best original screenplay and best editing, while best British film was named as My Summer of Love.

The ceremony was presented in London's Leicester Square by Stephen Fry in his usual suave and sophisticated fashion.

Of the winners, a surprised Clive Owen, who almost didn't hear when his name was read out, thanked everyone associated with him, including writer, Patrick Marber, and said the award was particularly special given that it was British.

Blanchett, meanwhile, thanked the woman she played in The Aviator, Katharine Hepburn, crediting her with paving the way for women to work in film.

But she added: "I'm sure you're pleased, although I bet you're glad you're not able to see this."

Leigh, who beat Scorsese to the best director prize, commented: "We always say it was a surprise and sometimes I've said it and not meant it. On this occasion, given the other names, it's a real surprise and an extraordinary honour."

All eyes now turn to the Oscars in a fortnight's time, with the odds divided evenly between Scorsese's Aviator and Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby.

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