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Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg Honored At British Academy Awards

March 17, 1986

LONDON (AP) _ Woody Allen’s ″The Purple Rose of Cairo″ was named Best Film of 1985 at the British Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night and a fellow American, director Steven Spielberg, was given the prestigious Fellowship of the Academy.

Allen’s film also won Best Original Screenplay at the nationally televised event, sponsored by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

American William Hurt was named Best Actor for his role in ″Kiss of the Spider Woman″ and British Dame Peggy Ashcroft won Best Actress honors for ″A Passage to India.″

Briton Denholm Elliott was chosen Best Supporting Actor for his performance in ″Defense of the Realm,″ and American Rosanna Arquette, Best Supporting Actress for her part in ″Desperately Seeking Susan.″

″Wow, that’s great. This is indeed quite an honor,″ said Spielberg to roars of approval from the black-tie crowd as he accepted his award.

″I think British films have a style and a craft that remain unsurpassed today,″ said Spielberg, whose newest film, ″The Color Purple,″ is among the top contenders at the March 24 American Academy Awards presentation in Los Angeles.

Spielberg told the audience that David Lean’s film ″Lawrence of Arabia″ ″did more to inspire me to make movies than any other I can recall.″ And he acknowledged the influence on his career of such British directors as Lean, Peter Yates, Ridley Scott and Karel Reisz.

Speaking via satellite from New York, the normally reclusive Allen said, ″I’m very flattered over your response to ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo,’ and I hope films I do in the future will be meaningful to you as well.″

Allen’s newest film, ″Hannah and Her Sisters,″ is playing to packed houses in America. He has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay honors at the American Academy Awards.

Hurt was chosen Best Actor for his role as a flamboyant homosexual prisoner in ″Kiss of the Spider Woman,″ Hector Babenco’s film that is up for four American Oscars.

″My mouth is dry, my heart is pounding, I’m elated, and I’m not used to this form of communication,″ said Hurt, speaking via satellite from Los Angeles.

Dame Ashcroft’s role in David Lean’s ″A Passage To India″ also won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar last March in Los Angeles.

Bob Geldof, the Irish pop star behind the African famine relief Live Aid, won the 1985 Television Award for Originality for the show ″Live Aid for Africa,″ made by the British Broadcasting Corp.

Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ginger Rogers were among the celebrities who gathered at London’s Grosvenor House to present the awards, which honor film and television achievement in 1985.

Neither ″The Color Purple″ nor ″Out of Africa,″ both top Oscar contenders this year, will be eligible for the British awars until next year, due to their delayed release dates in Britain.

″Prizzi’s Honor,″ which is up for eight Oscars, won the British award for Richard Condon and Janet Roach’s Screenplay Adaptation.

″Colonel Redl,″ Istvan Szabo’s Oscar-nominated drama, was named Best Foreign Film, and Maurice Jarre won Best Film Score for his work in Peter Weir’s film ″Witness.″

No award was given for Best Director.

Following are the academy’s 1985 television winners: Best Score, Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen, ″Edge of Darkness;″ Best Drama Series, ″Edge of Darkness;″ Best Single Drama, ″Shadowlands;″ Best Factual Series, ″40 Minutes;″ Best Comedy Series, ″Only Fools and Horses;″ Best TV Actor, Bob Peck, ″Edge of Darkness;″ Best TV Actress, Claire Bloom, ″Shadowlands;″ Best Light Entertainment Performance, Victoria Wood, ″Victoria Wood As Seen On TV;″ the Flaherty Documentary Award, Christopher Swann, ″Leonard Bernstein’s ’West Side Story‴

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