Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was the big winner at the 2009 Empire awards, with three prizes including best film.
The Batman Begins sequel, one of the most successful films of all time and an Oscar winner for the late Heath Ledger, also took the best actor award for leading man Christian Bale while Ledger received a special commemoration award.
Nolan was voted best director by readers of the film magazine and sent a video message in acceptance of the prize.
"When you make a film like Dark Knight you really hope it reaches a lot of people, and Empire and its readers are really a great audience," he said. "Thank you very much."
Other winners included Son of Rambow (best comedy), Eden Lake (best horror) and RocknRolla (best British film) while Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle received the outstanding contribution to British film award.
"It's a lovely feeling getting all these awards," Boyle said, "but you've got to get back on the bicycle at some point".
St Trinian's and Quantum of Solace star Gemma Arterton was named best newcomer - "It's quite scary, because now I'm a proper actress," she jokingly told the BBC - while Helena Bonham Carter won the best actress prize.
Lord of the Rings actor Viggo Mortensen received the Empire Icon prize for his contribution to cinema while Gladiator actor Russell Crowe won the Actor of Our Lifetime award.
Crowe recited Rudyard Kipling's If when he accepted the prize - a reference to the 2002 BAFTA awards when his reading of Patrick Kavanagh's Sanctity was edited out of the television broadcast.
"Thank you for this honour," he remarked on Sunday evening "and the opportunity to read some poetry at a British awards ceremony.
"It's one of my favourite things to do. Thank you and good night."
The winners of the 2009 Empire awards were:Best newcomer Gemma Arterton
Best comedy Son of Rambow
Best horror Eden Lake
Best thriller Quantum of Solace
Actor of our Lifetime Russell Crowe
Best director Christopher Nolan - The Dark Knight
Best sci-fi/superhero Wanted
Best soundtrack Mamma Mia!
Best British film RocknRolla
Best film The Dark Knight
Done in 60 Seconds Jerry Maguire
Best actor Christian Bale
Best actress Helena Bonham Carter
Outstanding contribution to British film Danny Boyle
Empire icon Viggo Mortensen