'Avatar' was the big winner at this year's Jameson Empire Film Awards 2010 last night (28.03.10).

The 3-D sci-fi blockbuster picked up three prizes at the event, winning Best Film, Best Director for James Cameron and Best Actress for Zoe Saldana - who played the role of blue Na'vi alien Neytiri in the epic.

Speaking in a pre-recorded message, Cameron thanked the movie magazine that hosts the ceremony for his Best Director nod and took a light-hearted swipe at Oscar bosses who gave the same accolade to his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow - the director of 'Hurt Locker' - earlier this month.

He said: "Well, I've just received this award, for which I am very grateful. Clearly the Empire magazine readership is more discerning than the British or American academies.

"Of course, we know that the director just takes credit for the work of others, and we had a hugely talented group of people working on this film, but I'm very happy to take the credit for them."

As well as winning Best Actress, Zoe also picked up another win when 'Star Trek' - in which she played linguistics officer Lieutenant Uhura - was the victor in the Best Sci-Fi category.

Simon Pegg - who plays Scotty in the film - accepted the award on behalf of the cast and admitted he was "proud" to have taken part in the J.J. Abrams film.

He said: "Thank God the best looking member of the Enterprise crew is here to pick this up. This is lovely and I'm hugely proud to be part of this story, so on behalf of JJ and the rest of the crew, thank you."

Sir Ian McKellen picked up the Empire Icon Award, which was presented by his friends Patrick Stewart and Roger Rees at the ceremony held at London's Grosvenor House hotel.

Upon accepting his prize, 'X-Men' star Sir Ian said he was enjoying his successful film career, despite having come from a stage background.

He said: "My dears, I'm terribly pleased to be here. I always set out to be a stage actor, but rather late in the day I made films that people actually saw - so let that be an inspiration to those of you who have not yet stood up here receiving one of these."

Jameson Empire Film Awards 2010 Winners:

Best Film: 'Avatar'

Best Director: James Cameron - 'Avatar'

Best Actress: Zoe Saldana - 'Avatar'

Best Actor: Christoph Waltz - 'Inglourious Basterds'

Best Newcomer: Aaron Johnson - 'Nowhere Boy'

Best Comedy: 'In The Loop'

Best Sci-Fi: 'Star Trek'

Best Thriller: 'Sherlock Holmes'

Best Horror: 'Let The Right One In'

Best British Film: 'Harry Brown'

Empire Icon: Sir Ian McKellen

Empire Hero: Jude Law

Empire Inspiration: Andy Serkis

Outstanding Contribution To British Film Award: Ray Winstone