Oscar-nominated British movie Atonement has won four prizes at the Richard Attenborough film awards.

Adding to its haul of Golden Globes, the period drama won film of the year, with director Joe Wright taking the best filmmaker award and Christopher Hampton named best screenwriter.

And leading man James McAvoy won the best actor award for his role as wronged gardener Robbie Turner, sent away to war after the whispers of a naive young girl see him accused of a crime he did not commit.

Speaking after the ceremony, the actor said he was "really proud to be a part of this film and excited to be taking home this award".

"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," he was quoted by Press Gazette as saying.

"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."

Voted for by the UK's regional press journalists, the awards were renamed in honour of the British director and actor this year.

"This film was shot entirely in England with a completely British cast and crew, so it is especially thrilling that our film has been honoured by the Richard Attenborough film award," added Paul Webster, producer of Atonement.

Cate Blanchett was named actress of the year for her portrayal of the virgin queen in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, while Sam Riley won the rising star award for his turn as the late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in Control.

Lord Attenborough praised the award recipients, adding: "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."

31/01/2008 10:37:42