Iran hostage crisis drama Argo has won the best film prize at Britain's BAFTA awards in a further boost for US actor-director Ben Affleck's movie at the Oscars later this month.
At a rainy but celebrity-packed ceremony on Sunday at the Royal Opera House in London, Affleck also won the best director award, highlighting the fact that he has been snubbed in the same category at the Academy Awards.
Australian Hugh Jackman lost out to Daniel Day-Lewis, who was named best actor for his presidential turn in Steven Spielberg's political drama Lincoln, while 85-year-old French screen legend Emmanuelle Riva won best actress for Amour.
Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for her performance in British musical Les Miserables while Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor for his role in Quentin Tarantino's blood-soaked western Django Unchained.
Dozens of stars defied the sleet and wind of a typical British winter evening to sashay down the red carpet for the awards, which are widely viewed as a bellwether for the Oscars on February 24.
The BAFTAs have picked the same best film as the Oscars for the past four years in a row, and for five of the past 10 years in total.
Veteran British actress Helen Mirren stole the show with freshly dyed pink hair, while US star Jennifer Lawrence blew a kiss to television audiences during the ceremony, just as Brad Pitt did last year.
Les Miserables won the most awards with four including Hathaway's gong, plus prizes for production design, sound and hair and make-up, followed by Argo with three, also including editing.
Riva's best actress award for her role as a dying woman in Amour - which won the Palme d'Or in Cannes last year - came after the movie by Austrian director Michael Haneke also won the best foreign language film award at the BAFTAs.
French star Riva is the oldest ever nominee for the best actress award at the Oscars.
Jackman wasn't confident heading into the ceremony but the Sydney-born actor told AAP just being nominated for his turn as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables was a thrill.
"This is just a joy," the 44-year-old said on the red carpet, where he had to compete with an over-zealous fan belting out a tune from the screen musical.
"Any movie musical can go so wrong so easily. The fact we got nine nominations means a lot for us."
Meanwhile, glossing over his own Oscar snub, Affleck said the best director award was a second chance for him after a career that took off when he starred in the 1997 picture Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon.
"I want to say this is a second act for me and you've given me that, this industry has given me that and I want to thank you, and I'm so grateful and proud," he said as he accepted the award from British actor Ian McKellen.
Argo also won the top Golden Globe awards against all the odds, beating Lincoln.
Affleck also won the best director award from the Directors Guild of America a week ago. Argo itself has received seven Oscar nominations, including best picture.
Cult director Tarantino won the award for best original screenplay for Django Unchained and David O. Russell picked up the best adapted screenplay award for romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook.
In a rare accolade for the James Bond series despite its enduring appeal over the past 50 years, Skyfall was named best British film and the score won the best original music prize. Skyfall is Britain's highest grossing film ever.
The BAFTAs ceremony ended with the awarding of a special fellowship to filmmaker Alan Parker, the director of movies including Midnight Express, Birdy, Angel Heart and Bugsy Malone.
Long a highlight of the British film industry calendar, the BAFTAs have been growing in stature over the years and are now seen as one of the key indicators of Oscar success.
WINNERS OF THE 2013 BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS:
Film - Argo
British Film - Skyfall
Director - Ben Affleck, Argo
Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Actress - Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Supporting Actress - Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Rising Star - Juno Temple
British Debut - Bart Layton and Dimitri Doganis, The Imposter
Original Screenplay - Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Adapted Screenplay - David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Film Not in the English Language - Amour
Music - Thomas Newman, Skyfall
Cinematography - Life of Pi
Editing - Argo
Production Design - Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson, Les Miserables
Costume Design - Anna Karenina
Sound - Les Miserables
Visual Effects - Life of Pi
Makeup and Hair - Les Miserables
Animated Feature - Brave
Short Film - Swimmer
Short Animation - The Making of Longbird
Documentary - Searching for Sugar Man
Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema - Tessa Ross
Academy Fellowship - Alan Parker