"Atonement" wins hat-trick of Empire awards

LONDON (Reuters) - Wartime romance “Atonement” has won three prizes at Empire magazine’s annual awards ceremony, including best British film.

Cast member Keira Knightley smiles on stage at the premiere of "Atonement" at the Elgin theatre during the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival September 10, 2007. Wartime romance "Atonement" has won three prizes at Empire magazine's annual awards ceremony, including best British film. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Its stars James McAvoy and Keira Knightley were named best actor and actress after missing out at the BAFTAs and Oscars.

The epic drama, based on Ian McEwan’s novel, was nominated in six categories, including best director for Joe Wright.

Tim Bevan, who co-produced the film, said: “This is an absolutely amazing time in British cinema at the moment, which is mainly because we have such an amazing collection of British directors.”

The other nominees for the best UK film prize were: Sci-fi thriller “Sunshine”; police comedy “Hot Fuzz; Joy Division biopic “Control” and social drama “This Is England”.

The best film award went to spy thriller “The Bourne Ultimatum”, starring Matt Damon as amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne.

David Yates won the best director award for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, while zombie movie “28 Weeks Later” picked up the best horror film prize.

Actor Sam Riley won the best newcomer award for his portrayal of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

Other winners at Sunday’s ceremony included “Control” (soundtrack); “American Gangster” (thriller) and “Stardust” (sci-fi/fantasy).

The winners were chosen by readers of Empire magazine.

Reporting by Peter Griffiths; editing by Steve Addison