Veteran actor Michael Caine picked up a lifetime achievement award at the British Film Awards on Sunday, while Julie Christie was rewarded for her role in Afterglow. The 59-year-old actress rejuvenated her career in the American-made film with Nick Nolte. Sir Derek Jacobi, 61, was honoured as best actor for his portrayal of the hard-drinking homosexual artist Francis Bacon in the controversial film Love is the Devil. John Boorman's The General, about Irish thief Martin Cahill, won the best film prize in a star-studded ceremony at London's Savoy Hotel. Caine, 66, who has already received a Golden Globe for his role as the seedy agent in Little Voice, said he was delighted with his award. 'It's very exhausting, this collecting awards lark, but I think I'm getting to like it,' he said. Bill Nighy's role as an ageing rock singer in Still Crazy won him the Peter Sellers comedy award, while Eileen Atkins took the best screenplay award for Mrs Dalloway. The director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie, was the most promising newcomer. His award was accepted by footballer Vinnie Jones, who played an East End gangster in the film. The awards are seen as a precursor to the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards in May.