11 FEBRUARY 2008

It was a night of high drama at the BAFTAs as the UK's best loved stars dazzled on the red carpet - but ceded some of the glory to foreign talent.

Keira Knightley led the way in the style stakes, stepping out in an elegant tiered gown by Valentino Couture. Factory Girl actress Sienna Miller also thrilled admirers in a sexy backless Dior number and ₤1 million worth of Chopard jewels.

London-born Keira's wartime romance Atonement came away with just two out of its 14 nominations. Though one of these was for the coveted best film prize, its 22-year-old star missed out on being recognised as best actress along with the other hot favourite, Away From Her's Julie Christie.

The British actresses were pipped to the post by Marion Cotillard, the French starlet who portrayed Edith Piaf in the bio-pic La Vie En Rose. It was a result predicted by Keira, who paid tribute to her Gallic rival before the ceremony saying: "Marion Cotillard is my hero at the moment."

Meanwhile, best director went to American filmmakers the Coen Brothers for No Country For Old Men ahead of home-grown talents, Joe Wright for Atonement and Paul Greengrass, who made The Bourne Ultimatum.

One notable British success was Daniel Day-Lewis, named top actor for his portrayal of an oil baron in There Will Be Blood. After his Golden Globe and Screen Actors' Guild wins, the Ireland-based star is now tipped to make it a grand slam and bag an Oscar later this month.

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Keira, one of the hot favourites for the best actress prize, was stunning in a Valentino Couture creation. Though she went home empty handed on a night that honoured a number of foreign films, Atonement, the tale of star-crossed lovers in which she stars, was hailed as film of the yearPhoto: Rex
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The top prize for a female performance went to Marion Cotillard, who portrayed tragic diva Edith Piaf in La Vie En RosePhoto: Getty
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Daniel Day-Lewis - seen here with wife Rebecca Miller - scooped the best actor award and is now the frontrunner for an Oscar after winning a Golden Globe and SAG awardPhoto: Getty
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