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BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards honor Douglas, De Niro, Blunt

November 9, 2009 | 12:56 pm

Film legends Kirk Douglas and Robert De Niro, along with "A Single Man" star Colin Firth, "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle and up-and-coming screen talent Emily Blunt were honored at the British Academy of Film and Television Los Angeles' (BAFTA/LA) Britannia Awards on Nov. 5 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. The star-studded guests who turned out to pay homage to the quintet included Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Ewan McGregor and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The California governor was on hand to present the Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment Award to Douglas, with whom he co-starred in 1979's comic western "The Villain." For his part, Douglas charmed the crowd with a heartfelt speech, which he capped with a rendition of Hubert Gregg's 1947 hit "Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner" that left many audience members visibly moved.

De Niro's acceptance of the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence was preceded by a hilarious introduction by his "Little Fockers" co-star Ben Stiller (who presented with Claire Danes). De Niro kept the mood light in his own speech, during which he recited some of his most memorable lines of screen dialogue in a British accent.

FOR THE RECORD: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Colin Farrell received a glowing tribute from Minnie Driver and Tom Ford. It was Colin Firth.

Danny Boyle was feted by two of his leading men -- Ewan McGregor from "Shallow Grave," "Trainspotting" and "A Life Less Ordinary," and "Slumdog Millionaire's" Dev Patel -- before accepting the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Artistic Excellence in Directing. And Colin Firth received glowing tribute from his "Hope Springs" co-star Minnie Driver and his "Single Man" director Tom Ford as part of his BAFTA/LA Humanitarian Award presented by Volvo, which he received for his work with OXFAM, Eco-Age and Survival International, among others. This year's recipient of the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year, "Young Victoria" star Emily Blunt, was honored by her "Sunshine Cleaning" co-star Amy Adams and Benecio Del Toro, who menaces Blunt in 2010's "The Wolf Man."

The evening was hosted in typically urbane and delightful fashion by actor/author/director Stephen Fry. In addition to presenting awards to some of the biggest and most storied names in entertainment, the BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards also serve as a fund-raising event, with proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction going to benefit its ongoing education and outreach programs. 

-- Paul Gaita