Oscar nominees Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan scooped the British Actor and Actress of the Year awards at the 30th Annual London Film Critics’ Circle Awards.
Firth was honoured for his role as a gay professor in Tom Ford’s directorial debut 'A Single Man', while up-and-coming actress Mulligan received the award for her part in 'An Education', written by Nick Hornby.
Quentin Tarantino also attended last night’s ceremony to pick up its highest honour, the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Cinema, for his outstanding contribution to cinema.
The director, screenwriter, producer and actor was celebrated for his classic films such as 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Kill Bill', which continue to inspire a generation of young film-makers.
Firth said of the reviews for 'A Single Man', which has seen him nominated for a best actor Oscar: “If someone asked me to choose between the gongs and the words that I’ve been getting for the film, it would be a tough choice, because whether or not we admit to it we rather like these (awards).
“But I’ve never had stuff like this. It’s of such a personal nature and it feels so heartfelt, and it’s come from quarters which I would never have expected.”
Mulligan, who is up for a Best Actress Oscar, said she was delighted to be returning home to Britain to collect her award.
She said: “I’m hugely flattered. And it’s at home and I haven’t been home for ages and I got in this morning and it was raining and it’s perfect.
“It means a lot. It’s huge.”
The 24 year old also revealed she would be partying hard at this weekend’s Baftas after taking it easy during her recent visit to America.
“They don’t do that very much in America so I thought I’d save it all for them (the Baftas).
“Tonight, I’ve been on two red eyes in the last two days so I don’t think it’s a good idea tonight.”
Christoph Waltz, star of Tarantino’s latest film 'Inglourious Basterds', was also honoured at the ceremony, receiving the gong for Actor of the Year.
The Actress of the Year award went to Mo’Nique for her impressive performance as an abusive mother in dark drama 'Precious'.
Gritty British drama 'Fish Tank' received four awards, with Andrea Arnold being named British Director of the Year and Michael Fassbender picking up the British Actor in a Supporting Role award.
Newcomer Katie Jarvis, who landed her debut role as troubled teen Mia in 'Fish Tank' after being discovered arguing with her boyfriend at a train station, received the NSPCC Award for Young British Performer of the Year.
Inspiring French prison drama 'A Prophet' was named Film of the Year and moving Swedish horror movie 'Let The Right One In' won Foreign Language Film of the Year. Kathryn Bigelow was given the Director of the Year award for Iraq war drama 'The Hurt Locker'.
Screenwriter of the Year went to Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Toni Roche for political satire In The Loop, while Duncan Jones won the Breakthrough British Film-Maker award for sci-fi thriller Moon.
To mark the 30th year of the awards, Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam war film 'Apocalypse Now' was named the London Film Critics’ Circle best film of the last 30 years.
The awards ceremony, hosted this year by Jason Isaacs at the Landmark Hotel, is the only one of its kind that benefits a charity, and has been supporting the NSPCC for 15 years.