"Harry Potter," Katy Perry big People’s Choice winners

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Harry Potter" cast a spell at the People's Choice awards on Wednesday on a night that also saw big wins for singer Katy Perry at the start of the Hollywood awards season.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" -- the last installment of the hit movie franchise about the British boy wizard -- won four awards, including best movie and favorite ensemble cast.

Perry won five trophies, including best female music artist, favorite song for "E.T." and favorite tour headliner. But the perky "Firework" pop star pulled out of Wednesday's live TV ceremony at short notice, following her split with British comedian Russell Brand two weeks ago after 14 months of marriage.

The People's Choice is the earliest of Hollywood's glittering annual awards shows. But unlike the Oscars or the Golden Globes, the People's Choice winners are determined by fans and provide few insights to the likely winners of the movie industry's highest honors in February.

The "Harry Potter" stars did not make the trip from Britain to the awards show in Los Angeles so none of their wins were announced on the two-hour televised ceremony.

Female romp "Bridesmaids" won best comedy movie and Johnny Depp picked up the best actor award.

Emma Stone, 23, took the trophies for both movie actress and favorite comedy actress for her roles in civil rights era film "The Help" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love."

"I moved to LA eight years ago this week with my mom and it is so insane to be standing up here right now," Stone told the audience.

Former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato, 19, was voted favorite pop artist following her return to showbusiness after an emotional breakdown in late 2010, beating the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Maroon 5 won best band.

Television honors included "Glee" star Lea Michele and Neil Patrick Harris for "How I Met Your Mother," which also won favorite TV comedy show. "Two Broke Girls" was voted best new TV comedy.

Adam Sandler won best movie comedy actor and "Water for Elephants," starring "Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson, won best movie drama.

Sandler beat perennial favorites like Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper. Both Sandler's movies this year -- "Jack and Jill" and "Just Go With It" -- were mauled by critics but as Sandler noted while accepting his trophy, "You the people seem to enjoy" them.

The People's Choice hands out awards in more than 40 categories covering film, music and television. Organizers said on Wednesday that the winners were decided by more than 230 million public votes online, via text and through social media websites.

The popular "Twilight" vampire romance franchise, which has dominated People's Choice for the past two years, was not eligible to compete this year because of the timing of the "Breaking Dawn-Part 1" release in November.

In a new category, Morgan Freeman triumphed over George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks and Robert DeNiro to win favorite movie icon.

Freeman, the Oscar-winning star of "Million Dollar Baby", said he wasn't sure what an icon was. But he added, "I hope I represent a working actor who is so incredibly proud to be in this business ... and forever grateful for this honor."

A full list of winners can be found at www.peopleschoice.com.

(Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bill Trott)


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