Keira Knightley Won Best Actress From Empire Magazine Awards
Cinema fans atone for Keira Knightley's Oscar defeat
British film fans delivered their verdict on the Oscars after voting Keira Knightley and Atonement the big winners at the Empire magazine awards.
The Ian McEwan adaptation, snubbed in the major Oscar categories, took three prizes including Best British Film at the Grosvenor House ceremony.
Knightley, also overlooked by the Bafta panel, was finally vindicated after readers of the top-selling film monthly voted her Best Actress.
Her co-star James McAvoy, who lost out at the Baftas to Daniel Day-Lewis, accepted the Best Actor award at the event, attended by stars including Matt Damon and Ewan McGregor.
Mark Dinning, Empire editor, said the British film category was the strongest yet with Atonement narrowly beating Control, the story of singer Ian Curtis and skinhead drama, This Is England.
While the Baftas and Oscars honoured the Edith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose and the Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men, the Empire audience, which includes one million online users, made a powerful case for more mainstream box office triumphs.
The Bourne Ultimatum, the £200 million grossing final instalment in the acclaimed spy trilogy, starring Damon, won Best Film. Mr Dinning said: "It is a terrific, smart movie as well as a massive box office hit. Paul Greengrass (the British director) has shown he is a master of many different film genres."
The only major film awards voted by fans delivered a corrective to the choices made by the "academies". Mr Dinning said: "The readers have put the record straight. Atonement was a tremendous British film which generated a lot of support from the audience."
David Yates, an English television director who was a surprise choice to helm Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, was voted best director.
Mr Yates has now been awarded the next Potter film after his success in guiding the £3 billion franchise to new heights. Mr Dinning said: "He took the weakest of the Potter books and turned it into the best film so far."
The presence of the Potter cast, Empire Icon winner Ewan McGregor and Damon at the awards, demonstrated the magazine's influence in directing filmgoers to the latest blockbusters.
But Empire gave its Inspiration Award to Guillermo del Toro, the cult Mexican director whose work mixes horror with fantasy. Pan's Labyrinth, the post-Civil War Spain set story of a young girl given tasks by a mysterious fawn, won Baftas and Oscars.
Atonement's 3 Empire Awards:
Best British Film - Atonement
Best Actor - James McAvoy (Atonement)
Best Actress - Keira Knightley (Atonement)
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