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Richard Attenborough Film Awards honour Atonement (2008)


Story by Jack Foley

ATONEMENT has been recognised with four top prizes at the newly-named Richard Attenborough Film Awards.

The movie, which is also in the running for best film at the Oscars, was named film of the year, while one of its stars, James McAvoy, was named best actor.

The film also picked up the best film-maker trophy for director Joe Wright and the best screenwriter award for Christopher Hampton.

Commenting on his award, McAvoy said: “Atonement was both an emotional and a physical film to work on, and it was an honour to be among such a great cast and crew. I’m really proud to be a part of this film and excited to be taking home this award.

“My thanks go to Joe Wright and to the regional critics for their great vote of confidence. So often films like Atonement don’t get meaningful nationwide releases and I am so glad to see that it has been enjoyed throughout Britain.”

While Atonement‘s producer Paul Webster said: “This film was shot entirely in England with a completely British cast and crew. It’s therefore especially thrilling that our film has been so honoured by the Richard Attenborough Film Awards.”

The Richard Attenborough Film Awards are voted for by UK regional journalists and were renamed in honour of the British director this year.

Other prizes went to Cate Blanchett, who was named best actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and newcomer Sam Riley, who won the rising star award for his portrayal of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in Control. He will now be looking to repeat that success at the Orange Rising Star Award at the Baftas.

Riley said afterwards: “I’m very honoured to receive this award. Thank you to the Richard Attenborough Film Awards and to all the regional critics. I would also like to thank Anton Corbijn for his support and the incredible cast who made this possible.”

Congratulating all the winners on their success, Lord Attenborough commented: “The last year has shown the cinema to be both resilient and innovative. It has also brought a superb crop of terrific films with compelling performances from both experienced and fresh talents.”

In recognition of their achievement, each winner will be presented with a glass diamond mounted on a plinth, inscribed and engraved with Lord Attenborough’s signature.