Stephen M. Silverman
August 27, 1998 12:00 AM

In a move that should merit Mel Gibson’s going to war against them, the British have announced that they intend to steal the thunder away from America’s Oscars. On Wednesday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) said that it will give out its awards on February 25 of next year, exactly one month before we Yanks dole out our Oscars. (Up until now, the BAFTA Awards always followed the higher-profiled Oscars.) “The decision places the event in a pivotal role during the pre-Oscars lobbying process,” said BAFTA chairman Simon Relph in a statement. This year, BAFTA mirrored the Oscars and named “American Beauty” best picture and its leading man, Kevin Spacey, as best actor. Annette Bening, also from the same film, was named best actress, while the Oscar went to Hilary Swank, for “Boys Don’t Cry.”

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