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BAFTA wins point way to the Oscars

KATE Winslet, Mickey Rourke and "Slumdog Millionaire" became firm Oscar favorites after big wins at the British Academy Film Awards, or the BAFTAs.

Rags-to-riches tale "Slumdog" continued its fairy-tale journey with seven prizes, including best picture.

Winslet and Rourke took acting honors ?? Winslet for her role as a former Nazi concentration camp guard in "The Reader," Rourke for his career-reviving performance as a washed-up athlete in "The Wrestler." Heath Ledger won a posthumous supporting actor award for "The Dark Knight."

"It's such a pleasure to be back here, out of the darkness," Rourke said.

Winslet thanked her parents, sitting in the audience, "who I will not look at right now, otherwise I will burst into tears."

"Slumdog," Danny Boyle's film about a Mumbai street boy's rise to game-show triumph, went into the ceremony with 11 nominations and won prizes for best film, best director, adapted screenplay, music, cinematography, editing and sound.

Boyle dedicated his award partly to the people of Mumbai - and also to people closer to home.

"The wiring in my dad's house blew overnight, and it's just a big shout-out to everyone who helped him get the extension cable in so he could watch this on television."

Penelope Cruz was named best supporting actress for Woody Allen's comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

Documentary "Man on Wire" was named best British film, and the prize for best original screenplay went to Ireland's Martin McDonagh for "In Bruges."

"WALL-E" took the prize for animated feature, French drama "I've Loved You So Long" was named best film not in English, and Steve McQueen won the award for best first film for "Hunger," about hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Director Terry Gilliam was given a lifetime achievement award.


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