Michael Buckner/Getty
February 12, 2007 08:00 AM

Forest Whitaker won Britain’s version of an Oscar on Sunday night – and almost forgot to thank his wife during his acceptance speech.

After collecting the BAFTA award for best actor for his performance as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, Whitaker thanked the cast, the crew and his grandmother and then started to walk off the stage – but came running back to the microphone and added with a smile: “And my wife!”

But Whitaker, 45, could be forgiven for the near faux-pas: He was mourning a death in the family.

“I gave a special thank you to my grandma because she just passed away a couple of days ago and I walked away and I forgot to mention my wife,” the actor told reporters backstage at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.

(Whitaker and his wife, Keisha, 34, a cosmetics entrepreneur, have been married for 11 years. Their family includes daughters True, 8, and Sonnet, 10, plus Forest’s son Ocean, 16, and Keisha’s daughter Autumn, 15.)

The Last King of Scotland was also voted best British film of the year and won the prize for best adapted screenplay, and another regal film, and The Queen, earned Helen Mirren the best actress award.

Mirren beat out Penelope Cruz, Meryl Streep, and fellow Brits Kate Winslet and Judi Dench – all of whom are also up for Best Actress Oscars.

Accepting her award, Mirren, 61, gave some credit to the real Queen Elizabeth’s favorite four-legged friends: “I have to thank in particular a group without whom I know that none of you would ever have believed in me as the Queen, and I refer of course to the Corgis. Thank you, dogs and bitches all!”

Two other Oscar nominees – Jennifer Hudson and Alan Arkin – took supporting actor prizes for Dreamgirls and Little Miss Sunshine, respectively.

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