The World War II drama Atonement has been named Best Film at this year’s Bafta Awards in London’s Covent Garden.

The film, which is based on the best-selling novel by Ian McEwan, stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy as lovers torn apart by a tragic misunderstanding.

It had been the favourite to take the top prize, ahead of fellow nominees No Country For Old Men, American Gangster, There Will Be Blood and the German thriller The Lives Of Others.

However, despite 14 nominations Atonement went home with only one other award – for Best Production Design – with both Knightley and McAvoy missing out in the acting categories.

Best Director went to Joel and Ethan Coen for the dark thriller No Country For Old Men, which also picked up Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem. And hot favourite Daniel Day-Lewis was awarded the Best Actor Bafta for his role as a turn-of-the-century oil prospector in There Will Be Blood.

In the Best Actress category, however, French star Marion Cotillard beat Julie Christie – who had been hotly tipped to take the prize – for her performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. That film also won awards, for music, costume design and make-up.

Cotillard described her experience on the film as the most “incredible adventure. I loved every single second,” she said.

There was another surprise in the Best Supporting Actress category when Tilda Swinton won for her role alongside George Clooney in the legal drama Michael Clayton.

Other winners included screenwriter Diablo Cody, who won Best Original Screenplay for the smash hit comedy Juno, and director Shane Meadows, who picked up the Best British Film Award for This Is England.

The awards are seen as an indication of who might take home Oscars when the ceremony is held in a fortnight’s time.

Other guests at the star-studded ceremony included Sylvester Stallone, Cuba Gooding Jr, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Goldblum, Thandie Newton and Eddie Izzard, all of whom presented awards.

CLICK below to watch Atonement win Best Film at the BAFTAs