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Royal flush at British film awards
13/2/2007 10:04

A gracious monarch and a charismatic dictator took the top prizes at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday.

"The Queen" clinched best film and Helen Mirren got best actress for her portrayal of the monarch, while "The Last King of Scotland" scooped three awards.

In contrast, the latest James Bond movie failed to shake or stir, picking up just one of the nine BAFTA nominations it received -- winning the sound quality category.

The other main victor on a night of glitz and glamor in London's theater-packed West End was "Pan's Labyrinth" which also picked up three awards.

All eyes were on Mirren as she accepted the mask-shaped trophy at a star-studded BAFTA award ceremony at the Royal Opera House.

Mirren paid tribute to Britain's Elizabeth II, whom she said she "hugely respected" and whose character she had been trying to reach through her performance.

"That's the person I'm trying to constantly fight my way to being, not like my own chaotic Helen Mirreny self," she said. "Just to be nominated on that great powerhouse of talent was fantastic."

Mirren dedicated her award to British actor Ian Richardson, who died last week.

Mirren, 61, beat Judi Dench, nominated for her role in the school sex drama "Notes on a Scandal," Penelope Cruz in "Volver," Meryl Streep in the fashion comedy "The Devil Wears Prada" and Kate Winslet in "Little Children."

"Scotland" was honored with the Alexander Korda Award for outstanding British film of the year, one of the seven awards hosted on the night to be voted for by the BAFTA jury. It earned actor Forest Whitaker the much-coveted best actor trophy for his tour de force as the despotic Ugandan dictator, seeing off competition from Daniel Craig, Leonardo DiCaprio, Peter O'Toole and Richard Griffiths.

Whitaker paid tribute to director Kevin MacDonald, executive producer Tessa Ross and co-star James McAvoy in his acceptance speech. "I have to thank (McAvoy), his support made my work shine," the actor said.

"Scotland" also won the best adapted screenplay award for writer Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock.

"Labyrinth," set against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain, took home awards for best film not in the English language, best costume design and best makeup and hair.

"Little Miss Sunshine" won Alan Arkin the best supporting actor award and also took the award for original screenplay for Michael Arndt ahead of competition from "United 93" and "Queen."