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|March 2, 2000|
Om Puri nominated for top British award
Arthur J Pais
Om Puri, the tortured immigrant who worries about the impending war between Pakistan and India in the 1970s but cannot see the battles fought in his own house, has been nominated for the British Film and Television Awards for his singular performance in the hit film, East Is East.
His competition for the award include Oscar winners Kevin Spacey (nominated for American Beauty) and Ralph Fiennes, who plays a troubled novelist in The End Of The Affair.
Also nominated are Russell Crowe for The Insider and James Broadbent for Topsy Turvy.
The awards will be announced in April. The Sixth Sense, directed by Manoj Night Shyamalan from his own screenplay, has received four nods for best picture, best screenplay, best director and best editing. With a worldwide gross of over $ 340 million, The Sixth Sense is now the ninth highest grossing film in the world, having overtaken The Lost World, Steven Spielberg's sequel to Jurassic Park.
Buena Vista Social Club, a documentary coproduced by Deepak Nayar, is also running in the non-English movie category.
East Is East, which has grossed a strong $ 19 million in England, is also in the running for the best picture nod and the best screenplay (adapted) category. It is based on a hugely popular play by Ayub Khan Din, who has distilled details from his own life in order to write it. Din is the offspring of a marriage between a Pakistani and a white British woman.
East Is East is also in the running for the best picture award against the recently released American Beauty, a Steven Spielberg production directed by Sam Mendes, the London-based debutant movie director. In three weeks, the film has grossed a strong $ 18 million in England.
East Is East is being released in a few weeks in North America by Miramax, which is known for distributing off-beat films.
The Sixth Sense, which has grossed about $ 40 million and is still among the top 10 films in England thanks to its six Oscar nominations, could earn another $ 4 million because of the BFTA nominations. East Is East stands to conquer about $ 2 million, say box-office experts.
In the best screenplay category, Shyamalan will compete with such heavyweights as Pedro Almodovar (All About My Mother), Mike Leigh (Topsy Turvy), Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) and Sam Mendes (American Beauty).
In the best director category, Shyamalan will compete with such big names as Anthony Minghella, who has already won an Oscar for The English Patient, Neil Jordan, who is nominated for The End Of The Affair, based on Graham Greene's classic novel about passion, adultery and redemption, Mendes and Almodovar.
BFTA, the top British awards, allow audiences to vote for the best film among the 10 most popular movies of the year. Running for the Orange award are such hits as The Sixth Sense, Tarzan, A Bug's Life, Notting Hill, The Matrix and The Mummy.
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