Triple award success for 'Atonement'

'Atonement' led the way at the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards, scooping three of the most coveted prizes.

'Atonement' led the way at the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards, scooping three of the most coveted prizes.

As well as winning Best British Film, there were awards for Keira Knightley and James McAvoy for Best Actress and Best Actor.

The three wins from six nominations will go some way to making up for last month's Oscars disappointment.

In Los Angeles the film, adapted from the novel by Ian McEwan, took just one of its seven nominations, for best music (score).

Hollywood A-lister Matt Damon was among a host of celebrities attending last night's central London ceremony.

Action flick 'The Bourne Ultimatum', in which he stars, won Best Film.

The awards are voted for by readers of Empire magazine and visitors to its website.

David Yates took home the Best Director award for 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix', while another director, Shane Meadows, received an Outstanding Contribution Award.

Meadows' contributions to British cinema include 'This Is England', 'Dead Man's Shoes', and 'A Room For Romeo Brass'.

Ewan McGregor, star of 'Trainspotting', 'Moulin Rouge!' and the 'Star Wars' prequels, was awarded The Empire Icon Award by veteran actor Jim Broadbent.

He also received congratulations from Woody Allen and 'Trainspotting' author Irvine Welsh.

'Hot Fuzz' stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were on hand to collect the Best Comedy award, while 'American Gangster' took Best Thriller and '28 Weeks Later' was voted Best Horror.

Sam Riley won Best Newcomer for his portrayal of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in 'Control' and the biopic also picked up the Soundtrack Award.

The Inspiration Award went to Mexican Guillermo del Toro, who directed 'Pan's Labyrinth', 'Cronos', and 'Hellboy'.

The ceremony was hosted by comedian and actor Rob Brydon and the awards were voted for by Empire magazine readers.

Editor Mark Dinning said: "Thanks to the tens of thousands of Empire readers who voted, the wide range of award winners on the night are a great reflection of a fantastic year for movies and the ceremony itself was the perfect reflection of everything Empire stands for: passion, fun and a genuine love of the movies."

Sony Ericsson UK Managing Director John Harber said: "The fans have spoken, their choices made and it's great to see such a great range of talent across the winners."

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