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Sharon Stone takes home Hamptons Film Fest acting prize

From left, Stuart Match Suna, Paprika Steen and

From left, Stuart Match Suna, Paprika Steen and Sharon Stone attend the Hamptons International Film Festival Sloane reception at Wolffer Estates in Sagaponack on Sunday. (Oct. 9, 2009) Photo Credit: Rob Rich

Sharon Stone accepted the outstanding achievement in acting award at the 17th annual Hamptons International Film Festival Sunday afternoon, setting the tone for an evening of climactic events.

The festival celebrated its closing night with an awards ceremony at Guild Hall in East Hampton and the U.S. premiere of Heath Ledger's final film, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," followed by an official after-party at the Lily Pond nightclub.

Stone's appearance helped anchor a festival that drew celebrities such as Pierce Brosnan, Cheryl Hines, Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi and Emmy Rossum over the past several days.

Speaking before an audience with festival board member Judy Licht at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, Stone, 51, gamely answered questions about her infamously revealing and star-making turn in Paul Verhoeven's erotic thriller "Basic Instinct," recalling how she wore a see-through top to an audition and nearly told her lawyer to stop the film's release after seeing just how much of herself she exposed.

She also echoed the day's award theme by commenting on President Barack Obama's recent medal. "The world wants to love us and wants to think we're great," Stone said. "I don't think giving Obama the Nobel Peace Prize was a gift to our president, it was a gift to us as a nation."

Later, comedian Rachel Dratch hosted the awards ceremony, poking fun at the festival's signature award, the Golden Starfish, by suggesting alternatives like the Wooden Squid. Nevertheless, the awards came with substantial cash and in-kind services ranging from $5,000 to $165,000 in value.

The night's clear winner was "The Misfortunates," Belgium's official entry into the Oscar race for best foreign language film. The comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family won the Golden Starfish for best narrative feature, the Kodak Award for cinematography (presented by director Barry Sonnenfeld, of "Men in Black" fame) and the Zicherman Foundation Award for best screenplay. A special jury prize went to Paprika Steen for her role as an alcoholic actress in the Danish film "Applause."

The Golden Starfish for best documentary went to "Long Distance Love," about a Moscow-Kyrgyzstan romance, with a special jury prize for "Mugabe and the White African," which explores Zimbabwean land reform laws. The conflict & resolution award went to "Rabbit à la Berlin," about a rabbit community affected by the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Audience awards went to the documentary "Waking Sleeping Beauty," about the 1980s-era slump of Disney Animation Studios; the narrative film "The Young Victoria," starring Emily Blunt as the rising English queen; and the short film "This Is Her," about an ominous childbirth.

Terry Gilliam's dark fantasy, "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," served as the closing night film Sunday. (The festival continues through Monday with additional screenings of the winning films.) Producer Amy Gilliam, Terry's daughter, flew in from London and spoke earlier in the day about the mid-production death of the film's star, Heath Ledger.

"I was the person who received the phone call, and I'm the person who has to tell the director, my dad," Gilliam said in an interview at the hotel c/o The Maidstone. Her father eventually used Colin Firth, Johnny Depp and Jude Law to supplement Ledger's footage, having all four actors play one character.

"It's truly a Gilliam movie," the director's daughter said of the film. "He pulled through and found a solution. And I think the film still stands."

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