December 2, 2007 / 5:17 AM / 11 years ago

Mirren wins best actress at European Film Awards

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain’s Helen Mirren won another award on Saturday for her performance in Stephen Frears’ “The Queen,” taking the best actress crown at the 2007 European Film Academy.

Helen Mirren poses at the premiere of "Beowulf" at the Mann Village theatre in Westwood, California November 5, 2007. Mirren won another award on Saturday for her performance in Stephen Frears' "The Queen", taking the best actress crown at the 2007 European Film Academy. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The honor at a gala ceremony attended by 1,400 in Berlin followed an Oscar and Venice Film Festival prize for Mirren earlier in the year.

Another celebrated film, “4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” was picked best film by the 1,800-member European Academy at the 20th anniversary ceremony — held at its home city in Berlin in odd years and in different European cities in even years.

Director Cristian Mungiu’s film about two student friends ruthlessly exploited when one goes to have an illegal abortion had already won Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Sasson Gabai of Israel was selected as best actor for his performance in “The Band’s Visit,” a comedy about a small Egyptian police band that ends up in Israel as part of an awkward cultural goodwill exchange.

The People’s Choice Award went to Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore’s “La Sconosciuta” (The Unknown). The European Film Academy’s prize for the best short film was awarded to “Alumbramiento” by Spanish director Eduardo-Chapero Jackson.

German-Turkish director Fatih Akin collected the best screenwriter prize for “The Edge of Heaven.”

The European Film Prize has yet to gain the prestige of high-profile European film festivals in Cannes, Venice and Berlin but the awards are widely respected in the film industry.

The EFA was founded in 1989, with Swedish director Ingmar Bergman as its first president. The EFA aims to unite Europe’s disparate film community but also celebrate that diversity.

The ceremony will be broadcast to 61 countries from Sunday. Last year’s awards were in Warsaw, where “Das Leben Der Anderen” (The Lives of Others), set in Communist East Germany five years before the Berlin Wall fell, won the top prizes.

Next year the ceremony will be held in Copenhagen.

Editing by Stephen Weeks

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