LONDON - Sam Mendes and his Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, were big winners here at the 18th annual Jameson Empire Awards late Sunday.
Mendes scooped up three awards, including the Empire Inspiration prize, as well as the honors for best director and best movie of 2012.
Billing itself as "an antidote to more formal, industry-voted awards," such as the BAFTA Awards, the Empire Awards, organized by the movie magazine and sponsored by the beverage company, take place at the end of the annual awards season and before the Cannes Film Festival. They are voted for entirely by the movie-going public.
Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey followed Skyfall's six nominations with five each. In the best director category, Mendes edged out Jackson and Whedon along with Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained). The same five films also competed in the best picture category.
Seth MacFarlane's Ted won the best comedy prize at the Sunday night awards ceremony.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey earned two nods - for best sci-fi/fantasy film and for Martin Freeman as best actor.
Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress honor for her role in The Hunger Games. She thanked the audience from on-location work in Hawaii.
Meanwhile, Daniel Radcliffe earned the Empire Hero award. Director James Watkins, whose Woman In Black starring Radcliffe won the best horror award, handed the honor to the young actor. Past winners include the likes of Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Jude Law.
Helen Mirren received this year’s Empire Legend award, presented to her by Tom Hiddleston. Last year’s inaugural Legend winner was Tim Burton. And Danny Boyle picked up the Empire Outstanding Contribution award, which acknowledged his "stellar career so far."
Tom Holland was named best male newcomer for his role in The Impossible, while fans picked Samantha Barks as the best female newcomer for her work in Les Miserables.
The best British film award went to Ben Wheatley-directed comedy Sightseers about a man who wants to show his girlfriend his world during a caravan holiday that takes a wrong turn.
The awards ceremony took place at the Grosvenor House hotel in front of an industry crowd that also included the likes of Ian McKellan, Nick Park and host Ed Byrne.
An awards special will air on BSkyB's Sky Movies this coming weekend.