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Monday, February 20, 2006

No Baft-ling results here

Brokeback Mountain, rebranded by producer James Schamus as the "gay shepherd" movie, continued its award landslide in London last night by claiming 4 prizes at the Orange British Academy Film Awards.

The 8 times Oscar nominated movie took the awards for Best Film and Best Director for Ang Lee, who had previously won this Bafta for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. The movie also won the award for Adapted Screenplay and, in a surprise victory, Best Supporting Actor for 25 year old Jake Gyllenhaal.

Philip Seymour Hoffman won his 15th Best Actor prize this year for his mesmerising portrayal of author Truman Capote in Capote. Hoffman is on an almost unbeatable roll and now looks sure to be crowned Best Actor at the Oscars in March. Similarly, the non-attending Reese Witherspoon was named Best Actress for her role as June Carter in Walk the Line. This is Witherspoon's 11th Best Actress citation, which, in addition to her SAG and Golden Globe, puts her ahead of closest competitor Felicity Huffman for the Best Actress Oscar.

Elsewhere, ensemble drama Crash took home two awards: Best Original Screenplay for writer-director Paul Haggis and Best Supporting Actress for Thandie Newton. Newton has not figured in any of the other awards races but Supporting Actress favourite Rachel Weisz was nominated in the Lead category, leaving the race open for a new face to emerge.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit took the prize for Best British Film.

Compere for the night was the inimitably witty Stephen Fry, who oversaw a laid-back and mercifully short ceremony. The results are largely in line with the other major pre-Oscar awards that have taken place so far. The one major difference was Supporting Actor. Gyllenhaal upset the favourite, George Clooney, who was nominated twice in the category, for Syriana and his self-directed Good Night and Good Luck. The race for the Supporting Actor Oscar is now more fractured and uncertain than ever: Clooney won the Golden Globe, Paul Giamatti won the Screen Actors Guild and now Gyllenhaal the Bafta. This win gives new momentum to Gyllenhaal's Oscar campaign in these crucial final weeks.

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