Winslet, McGregor named top British actors

Kate Winslet won another top acting award last night - for a film in which she opted to miss the premiere following excessive media attention.

Kate Winslet won another top acting award last night - for a film in which she opted to miss the premiere following excessive media attention.

The Titanic star was named best British actress for a record fourth time by moviegoers at the Empire Film Awards.

Collecting her award, Winslet told guests at London’s Dorchester hotel: ‘‘I’d like to thank my daughter Mia for making me so fantastically frumpy because I was five months pregnant at the time of the film.’’

It has been a turbulent year for the actress after splitting from her husband Jim Threapleton, and she even missed the premiere for her winning movie Enigma because she could not face the attention.

But she said: ‘‘Things like this always make life worthwhile.’’

Ewan McGregor, who won best British actor, also claimed the award for a fourth time.

The pair have been named best British actress and actor for more than half of the seven years which the magazine has been running its annual event, voted for by readers.

Winslet, 26, took the title for wartime drama Enigma while 30-year-old McGregor landed his prize for Moulin Rouge - one of three prizes for the lavish musical.

McGregor was full of praise for Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann for allowing him to appear in the film.

‘‘My dreams, when I was a kid, were about being in movies with scantily clad ladies dancing and romance and he gave me an opportunity to do those things - and for a long time.’’

Another triple winner was Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings, widely hailed as a cinematic masterpiece on its release late last year.

It proved to be a hit with voters who ranked it the top film of 2001 and rewarded the movie’s 20-year-old star Elijah Wood by naming him best actor for his role as Frodo Baggins.

The Rings haul was completed by Orlando Bloom who was awarded the title of best debut for his performance as Legolas.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen was jubilant at the success of Lord of the Rings as he collected the prize for best film on behalf of director Jackson.

‘‘We got a best movie award here for a film that doesn’t even have an ending. This film really is cinematic history.

‘‘I would take a bet with anyone that Lord of the Rings will be nominated for best picture at the Oscars.’’

Another Rings star, Christopher Lee, who plays Saruman The White, was given a special achievement prize for his decades in film, just days after receiving a similar prize at the Evening Standard Film Awards.

His many notable movie roles include several outings as Dracula, the Bond villain Scaramanga in

The Man With The Golden Gun and appearances as Fu Manchu.

Nicole Kidman took the prize for best actress for her role as sexy courtesan Satine in turn of the century spectacular Moulin Rouge.

And the film also picked up the best director prize for Luhrmann.

Box office hit Bridget Jones’s Diary was named best British film but missed out on any other prizes.

Winslet’s most recent best actress title was back in 1999 for Titanic, while McGregor’s last big showing was in 1998 for A Life Less Ordinary, his third consecutive triumph.

The Empires are the only major British movie awards voted for by moviegoers themselves.

The full list of winners is as follows:

:: Best debut - Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring).

:: Best British actress - Kate Winslet (Enigma).

:: Best British actor - Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge).

:: Best British film - Bridget Jones’s Diary.

:: Independent spirit award - Alejandro Amenabar (The Others).

:: Best actress - Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge).

:: Best actor - Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings).

:: Best director - Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge).

:: Best film - Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

:: Empire inspiration award - Michael Mann.

:: Empire lifetime achievement award - Christopher Lee.

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