"Gosford Park," American filmmaker Robert Altman's satiric dissection of the British class system in the 1930s, was named the top film at the 29th annual Evening Standard Film Awards, honoring achievement in British moviemaking during 2001.
Altman, who turns 77 this month, received a standing ovation from the black-tie audience Sunday at London's Savoy Hotel as he stepped to the podium to receive the prize from one of the film's stars, Maggie Smith.
A second ovation went to Christopher Lee, the 79-year-old veteran of countless "Dracula" films and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," in theaters now. Accepting his special award for lifetime achievement, the famously gaunt Lee said the prize was proof that "one is never too old and, in my case ... one cannot be too tall." Lee stands well over 6 feet.
"Bridget Jones's Diary," which starred American actress Renee Zellweger as the lovesick and overweight Londoner of the title, won two awards -- for Hugh Grant for best comic performance and for Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies and Helen Fielding for best screenplay.
Best actor went to Linus Roache for playing the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in "Pandaemonium." Best actress went to Kate Winslet for three films -- "Quills," "Enigma," and "Iris." Winslet won in this category in 1996.
The technical achievement prize went to production designer Stuart Craig for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," with Most Promising Newcomer going to writer-director Ben Hopkins for his little-seen Anglo-German movie, "The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz."
The awards are named for The Evening Standard, London's afternoon newspaper. The dinner kicked off a busy month for show biz trophy-giving in Britain, which includes the Olivier Awards, London's Tonys, on Feb. 15 and the British Academy Awards on Feb. 24.