Theory Of Everything dominates Baftas

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The American coming-of-age tale Boyhood, filmed over 12 years, scooped three prizes including Best Film at Britain's biggest film awards on Sunday, but the ceremony was dominated by the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything.

At the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards, British star Eddie Redmayne picked up the Best Actor gong for playing motor neuron disease-stricken theoretical physicist Hawking, who presented an award.

The biopic also won for Best British Film and Best Screenplay Adaptation.

Redmayne, hotly tipped for Oscar glory later this month after already winning a Screen Actors Guild Award, thanked the wheelchair-bound Hawking and his family "for reminding me of the great strength that comes from the will to live a full and passionate life".

He said: "Our dream as actors is to tell interesting stories about interesting people and they don't come more interesting than this."

On the red carpet, he said he had been "galvanised" by the hope that the film would raise awareness of Hawking's condition and that he spent four months at a clinic to understand the disease.

Hawking received a standing ovation as he took to the stage to present the special visual effects award to space-faring epic Interstellar.

He joked that he was not only more intelligent but also "better- looking" than the night's host, comedian Stephen Fry. His biopic also won for outstanding British film.

Actor Tom Cruise and ex-footballer David Beckham also presented awards, while American stars and nominees such as Reese Witherspoon and Amy Adams also attended.

The awards this year favoured sensitive portrayals of illness and simple emotions and gave a lifetime achievement prize to director Mike Leigh, who is famous for his down-to-earth portrayals of working-class life.

Richard Linklater won the Best Director award for Boyhood, which he filmed over a 12-year period using the same cast. Patricia Arquette, who won the supporting actress award for her role as a single mother, said Linklater "made an ordinary story extraordinary".

Best Actress went to American star Julianne Moore for Still Alice, about a professor diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She broke down as she thanked her family in her acceptance speech.

Wes Anderson's comedy Grand Budapest Hotel was the biggest winner, taking home five awards including Original Screenplay and Original Music. But the jury snubbed The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which had received nine nominations.

J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a fearsome music teacher in Whiplash, while Citizenfour about American intelligence leaker Edward Snowden won the documentary Bafta.

Unbroken's British actor Jack O'Connell, 24, picked up the Rising Star award, the only prize voted by the public.

The ceremony also paid tribute to former British Academy director Richard Attenborough, who died last year aged 90. Prince William and Robert Downey Jr, who played Charlie Chaplin in Attenborough's biopic, praised the late director in pre-recorded video messages. Downey Jr quoted from a Chaplin song saying: "Smile, though your heart is aching!"

Along with Redmayne and Cumberbatch, Felicity Jones, Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike are also Oscar hopefuls, part of what has been described as a "British invasion" of Hollywood.

At a pre-ceremony party, Cumberbatch praised the new wave of British cinema, saying: "Britain has had a great year across the board, across writers, producers, actors and directors. It's a very, very good time."

 
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