London, Feb 22 (DPA) Britain’s up-and-coming star Carey Mulligan won the best actress category at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) Sunday in London. Mulligan, 24, took the prize for her lead role in the British-made film ‘An Education’, based on a novel by Nick Hornby on the adolescent life of journalist Lynn Barber.
Kathryn Bigelow scooped up the best film and best director awards for her Iraq war drama ‘The Hurt Locker’ in the occassion.
In what was a true veteran versus newcomer contest, Mulligan beat competition in the best actress category from Meryl Streep for ‘Julie & Julia’ and Audrey Tatou for ‘Coco Before Chanel’.
Shaking with emotion, Mulligan said after winning the award: ‘I really didn’t expect this at all, so I didn’t think of anything to say. Thank you so much, BAFTA. I was here a year ago, and I didn’t imagine in a million years that this would happen’.
Bigelow said she was overwhelmed by the dual recognition of best film and best director for her war epic, as she became the first woman in BAFTA history to win the best director award.
She fought off competition including ex-husband James Cameron, whose sci-fi blockbuster ‘Avatar’ had also been nominated in both categories.
‘Avatar’ and ‘The Hurt Locker’ had eight nominations each for best film, as did ‘An Education’.
‘This is beyond our wildest dreams. This is so unbelievable, we’re just so deeply honoured and humbled,’ said Bigelow.
British actor Colin Firth won the best actor award for his part in ‘A Single Man’.
At the start of the ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Prince William, 27, was announced as the new president of BAFTA, taking over from veteran filmmaker Richard Attenborough.