British director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave has been named best film at this year’s Bafta awards.
The film was nominated in 10 categories, but was beaten in many by Gravity which claimed six prizes, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron.
But the leading actor award went to 12 Years star Chiwetel Ejiofor, who received a standing ovation as he took to the stage to receive his trophy from Uma Thurman at the Royal Opera House in London.
He said he was “so deeply honoured and privileged to receive it” and thanked McQueen for his “artistry and passion”.
“You really brought us all through it and had the real vision to tell this extraordinary story,” he added.
Cate Blanchett claimed the leading actress trophy after her acclaimed performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
She dedicated her award to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier this month: “Phil, buddy, this is for you, you b******. I hope you’re proud.”
Gravity won the first award of the night, with Mexican director Cuaron taking home the outstanding British film trophy.
The space adventure, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has caused some controversy by being listed as a British film, but it was filmed in this country and the team responsible for its visual effects are UK-based.
Among the films it beat were Rush and Philomena. Gravity also collected the awards for best sound, cinematography, visual effects and original music.
A host of Hollywood stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were in the capital for the ceremony, which was hosted by Stephen Fry.
Jennifer Lawrence beat Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Sally Hawkins and Lupita Nyong’o to win the supporting actress prize. Lawrence stars in American Hustle with Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper, but was not able to collect her award in person.
The David O Russell film won original screenplay and its extravagant 1970s hairstyles were also honoured with the best hair and make-up award.
British comedian Steve Coogan won the award for adapted screenplay for Philomena, which he also stars in with Dame Judi Dench.
Ahead of the ceremony Coogan told Sky News that winning in that category would mean more to him that winning a Bafta for his acting.
Emma Thompson presented the award for supporting actor to Barkhad Abdi for his role as a Somali pirate in Captain Phillips.
Accepting his award, he thanked his co-star Tom Hanks, his “fellow pirates” and film-maker Paul Greengrass “for believing in me before I believed in myself”.
Abdi beat off competition from Bradley Cooper, Daniel Bruhl, Matt Damon and Michael Fassbender.
Before presenting a Bafta Fellowship award to Dame Helen Mirren, Prince William described her as “an extremely talented British actress who I should probably call granny”.
Dame Helen paid her own tribute to one of her former teachers who died recently and “alone was the person who encouraged me to be an actor”.
She ended by quoting from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, saying: “‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep’.
“My little life is rounded with this honour, thank you very much indeed.”
The Baftas for production and costume design went to the adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel The Great Gatsby.
Before the glitzy event, fans lined up alongside the red carpet to get a glimpse of celebrities including Amy Adams, Eddie Redmayne and Martin Scorsese.
DiCaprio received the loudest welcome from fans, with many chanting “Leo, Leo!” as he posed for selfies with them before entering the theatre.
12 Years A Slave star Nyong’o looked stunning on the red carpet in an emerald green Dior dress with matching shoes.
She was named as one of the rising star nominees, but the award was won by British actor Will Poulter, who stars in We’re The Millers with Jennifer Aniston.
Tinie Tempah and Laura Mvula opened the event with a performance of their song Heroes and later presented the best sound prize to composer Steven Price who worked on Gravity.
Sky Atlantic’s The Act Of Killing – about Indonesian death squads who murdered thousands in the 1960s – was named best documentary.
Frozen, which has been a huge hit at the UK box office, scooped the best animation award.
Bafta paid tribute to Hoffman and other actors and members of the film industry who have passed away in the last year in a video montage.
The ceremony is seen as a dry run for the Oscars which take place on Sunday, March 2.