As widely anticipated, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie was the big winner at the 14th European Film Awards in Berlin's new Tempodrom venue on Dec 1, taking home four separate prizes, comprising: best European film, best director, cinematographer as well as the people's choice award for best director.
Indeed, it was very much French cinema's night with best European actress going to Isabelle Huppert for her role in La Pianiste (The Piano Teacher), Juliette Binoche received the people's choice award for best actress for her performance in Chocolat, while the FIPRESCI award went to Robert Guediguian for his La Ville Est Tranquille.
UK actors were the night's other big winners, with Ben Kingsley named best European actor of the year for his performance in Sexy Beast, while Colin Firth received the people's choice award in the same category for his role in Bridget Jones's Diary. In addition, Ewan McGregor received the European achievement in world cinema distinction for his part in Moulin Rouge, which beat stiff competition from the likes of Lagaan, Baran and Monsoon Wedding to take this year's Screen International non-European Film award.
Moreover, UK talent was recognised with the awarding of the European short film 2001 - Prix UIP, with a purse of Euros 10,000, to Toby MacDonald's Je T'Aime John Wayne, and the presentation of the European Academy Lifetime achievement award to the Monty Python comedy team.
It was touch-and-go up to the very last minute as to whether the Tempodrom venue near Berlin's Potsdamer Platz would be ready to receive the 1,500 guests over the weekend, but there were generally positive reactions to the circus-tent style building, with the Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg already set to hold its Berlin Film Festival party there in February and plans for the Lolas of the next German film awards to be distributed there in mid-June.
Meanwhile, European Film Academy chairman Nik Powell announced that next year's awards ceremony will be held in Rome.
European Film Academy awards
Film - Amelie
Director - Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie)
Actor - Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast)
Actress - Isabelle Huppert (La Pianiste)
Screenwriter - Danis Tanovic (No Man's Land)
Cinematographer - Bruno Delbonnel (Amelie)
Fassbinder award - Achero Manas (El Bola)
Short film (Prix UIP) - Toby MacDonald (Je T'Aime John Wayne)
Documentary (Prix Arte) - Black Box BRD
Screen International non-European film award - Moulin Rouge
Critics' Award - La Ville Est Tranquille (Robert Guediguian)
Lifetime achievement - Monty Python
Achievement in world cinema - Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge)
People's Choice Awards
Director - Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Actor - Colin Firth (Bridget Jones's Diary)
Actress - Juliette Binoche (Chocolat)