A thoroughly British affair as Carey Mulligan and Colin Firth triumph at Baftas

hellomagazine.com List of Bafta winners.

 With her newly dyed blonde crop and a floor length red carpet gown, Carey Mulligan looked every inch a Hollywood star as she arrived for the prestigious BAFTA awards ceremony on Sunday evening.

And her status as the film world's hottest new talent was further cemented when the British 24-year-old beat off competition from Meryl Streep and Audrey Tautou to win this year's best actress award.

London-born Carey was honoured on her home turf for her role in An Education, in which she stars as a 1960s schoolgirl seduced by an older man.

Presented with her trophy by Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke - Carey is also nominated at this year's Academy Awards – the leading lady was clearly delighted with the result.

Waving to her proud family in the audience as she made her acceptance speech, the actress admitted she "didn't think in a million years that this would happen.".

Continuing the success of the Brits at the annual gathering was Colin Firth who beat stars including George Clooney and Jeff Bridges to win the best actor award.

The handsome 49-year-old, who takes the lead in Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man, as a gay grief-stricken academic, was presented his gong by last year's best actress, Kate Winslet.

Talking about his decision to take on the role, Colin told the star-studded audience: "What Tom Ford doesn't know is I have the email in my outbox telling him I could not possibly do this."

"I was about to send this when a man came to repair my fridge. I don't know what's best for me so I would like to thank the fridge guy."

Colin – also nominated at the Oscars - thanked the talented director for leaving him "resuscitated, a little more worldy, better groomed, more fragrant and more nominated than one has even been before."

The Hurt Locker was named best film and earned Kathryn Bigelow the best director award – the first woman to win the prize.

Kathryn, who beat ex-husband and Avatar director James Cameron to the prize, said the win was "really amazing and humbling."

Inglourious Basterds' Christopher Waltz was named best supporting actor while Monique picked up the supporting actress award for her turn in Precious.

American actress Kristen Stewart was presented with the rising star prize – voted for by the public.

Watched by her rumoured love interest and co-star Robert Pattinson in the crowd, the 19-year-old thanked Twilight supporters for being "the most devoted and attentive fans ever."

And Vanessa Redgrave received a standing ovation at the event – hosted by Jonathan Ross - when she was presented with the Bafta fellowship award by Uma Thurman and Prince William.

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