/ 11 February 2008

Daniel Day-Lewis scoops best actor Bafta

Daniel Day-Lewis gave his Oscar chances a welcome boost on Sunday by landing a best actor Bafta at the British Academy Film Awards for his searing portrayal of a driven oil prospector in There Will be Blood.

French actress Marion Cotillard sprung the surprise of the night by scooping the best actress award for her role as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose while the romantic British drama Atonement” was picked as best film.

Day-Lewis, already hotly fancied to land an Oscar in two weeks’ time, fought off tough competition from Hollywood star George Clooney in Michael Clayton and James McAvoy for his starring role in the romantic British drama Atonement.

Renowned for his intense preparation for roles, Day-Lewis won a best actor Oscar in 1989 for his moving performance as a man with cerebral palsy in My Left Foot. He famously stayed in character on set even when the cameras were not rolling.

Making a rare sortie into the media spotlight, Day-Lewis told reporters on the Bafta red carpet ”I’m quite pleased to be part of the circus this year as it’s a good year.”

Veteran actress Julie Christie had been odds-on favourite with bookmakers to land the Best Actress award for playing of an Alzheimer’s sufferer in Away From Her but lost out to Cotillard.

Atonement, which had led the field with 14 nominations, failed to scoop any of the main acting honours but did land the coveted best film award to give the home crowd something to cheer.

British actress Tilda Swinton won the best supporting actress award for Michael Clayton while the best supporting actor award went to Spanish actor Javier Bardem for his role in the bleak modern-day western No Country For Old Men.

No Country for Old Men also won the best director award for the Coen brothers Joel and Ethan.

Playwright Ronald Harwood landed the best adapted screenplay for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, his dramatisation of the autobiography of Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was totally paralysed except for his left eye.

Diablo Cody won the best original screenplay award for Juno, a teen pregnancy comedy that is also in line for Oscar glory on February 24. – Reuters