Interstellar triumphs at Empire film awards

Interstellar director Christopher Nolan (centre) with producer Emma Thomas and Jessica Chastain Director Christopher Nolan was joined by his wife, producer Emma Thomas, and Jessica Chastain (right)

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Deep space epic Interstellar left the competition earthbound at this year's Empire awards, taking off with three prizes including best film.

Christopher Nolan won best director, and also received the film magazine's "inspiration" award.

Andy Serkis won best actor for his motion-capture performance in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Ralph Fiennes, meanwhile, was presented with a "legend" award by Liam Neeson, his Schindler's List co-star.

Code-breaking drama The Imitation Game began the evening with the most nominations - six - but ultimately took home just one award, for best thriller.

Paddington was named best comedy at the event, while spy caper Kingsman: The Secret Service was crowned best British film.

Andy Serkis Serkis won best actor at the expense of Benedict Cumberbatch and Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne

An absent Rosamund Pike was named best actress for her role in Gone Girl, while former Doctor Who star Karen Gillan won best female newcomer for her work in Guardians of the Galaxy.

The latest X-Men film, Days of Future Past, won the award for best sci-fi or fantasy, while Australian title The Babadook took home the prize for best horror.

Voted for by Empire readers, the awards were presented by Cold Feet star James Nesbitt at London's Grosvenor House hotel.

'Bucket-loads of irony'

Serkis, best known for playing Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, ended Eddie Redmayne's winning streak for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

The 50-year-old said it was "gratifying" to be recognised as it helped illustrate his part in portraying computer-generated ape Caesar was "no different from any form of live-action acting".

Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson Neeson (right) called Fiennes "a consummate actor equally comfortable on stage as on screen"

Fiennes, currently appearing in Man and Superman at the National Theatre, confessed to feeling both "delight" and "embarrassment" at being called a legend.

"The 'L' word is only really applicable to a handful of dead actors... and should be treated with generous bucket-loads of irony," he told an audience that included his Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe.

Paying tribute to such former colleagues as Steven Spielberg and Robert Redford, the 53-year-old also gave an unexpected shout-out to Jennifer Lopez, his co-star in romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan

"May the spirit of J-Lo, with whom I maided in Manhattan, stop me for taking myself too seriously - though I am serious about the work," he concluded.

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