Keira Knightley attends films screening

For a film based on a book producer Paul Webster at first thought was “totally unfilmable,” “Atonement” got quite the reaction at Thursday’s Academy preem, with Frank Marshall calling it “extraordinarily beautiful,” Kathleen Kennedy describing it as “mesmerizing” and Eva Marie Saint saying, “It moved me.”

They “imagined the book so, so beautifully,” said “Dreamgirls” producer Laurence Mark. “And you can never lose when Vanessa Redgrave comes on in the home stretch.”

Despite the good buzz, Working Title co-topper Eric Fellner said he was “too long in the tooth to make a film specifically for awards. Hollywood is littered with films that tried that.”

After-party was held in the Academy’s lobby, where Keira Knightley was the main focus of the photogs. She said the big deal of the evening for her was meeting Saint after watching “On the Waterfront” a few days earlier.

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