'Slumdog Millionaire' cleaned up at the Baftas last night with seven gongs including Best Film.
The night of British triumphs also saw Danny Boyle win the Best Director prize for 'Slumdog Millionaire', the rags-to-riches tale set in the slums of Mumbai which has taken Hollywood by storm.
Irish playwright Martin McDonagh has won the Best Original Screenplay award for his critically acclaimed film 'In Bruges'.
McDonagh wrote and directed the film, which has also been nominated for the Best Screenplay Oscar.
His award was picked up last night by Brendan Gleeson, who starred in the movie.
Kate Winslet said she was "making the most of every single moment" as she won the Leading Actress award.
The success will also ignite the Oscar buzz around both double Golden Globe winner Winslet, who is in the running for best actress as a concentration camp guard in 'The Reader', and 'Slumdog Millionaire', which has received 10 nominations.
After a measured speech which was a far cry from her gushing acceptance of the Globes last month, Winslet said she "couldn't be happier".
"The girl from Reading will always be in me and it feels more present than ever in moments like this one - being given a big fat prize," she said.
"These are dreams that as a child I wouldn't even dare to dream.
"I'm just making the most of every single moment and I think it would be wrong to hope for anything beyond this moment. I don't want to take anything away from how special this moment is."
The Orange British Academy Film Awards, one of the most glamorous events in the film calendar, saw A-listers including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Penelope Cruz, Daniel Craig, Ron Howard and Michael Sheen brave the downpour to dazzle on the red carpet.
Appearing breathless, Winslet said in her acceptance speech: "To be given this award at home, this really means a great deal to me."
She thanked Bafta and her family and said she could not look at her mother and father for fear she would "burst into tears".
Winslet beat Jolie for 'Changeling', Kristin Scott Thomas for 'I've Loved You So Long' and Meryl Streep for 'Doubt'.
She also faced stiff competition from herself - having also been nominated in the category for her role in 'Revolutionary Road', which reunited her with 'Titanic' co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.
Eyes were also on the ceremony's host Jonathan Ross, fresh from his suspension over the Andrew Sachs lewd phone calls row, but it was Mickey Rourke who turned the air blue, saying he had been "f****** up my career for 15 years".
Rourke was named Leading Actor for his comeback role in 'The Wrestler', beating Dev Patel for 'Slumdog Millionaire', Brad Pitt for 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', Sean Penn for 'Milk' and Frank Langella for 'Frost/Nixon'.
Accepting the award, Rourke paid tribute to co-star Marisa Tomei, saying she was brave to take her clothes off, adding: "I enjoyed looking at her."
Ross joked to the audience: "After that speech, he's now suspended for three months."
True to his hell-raising image, Rourke arrived at the winners' press conference clutching a bottle of champagne, saying he was "really nervous" and "just trying to hold it together".
Winning the accolade after going off the rails so spectacularly - he has spent 13 years in therapy - made the moment even more memorable, he said.
Last night's win is likely to make him favourite to scoop the best actor award at the Oscars in two weeks.
In his acceptance speech, Boyle told how the wiring in his father's house blew on Saturday night and he gave "a big shout out" to everyone who helped to put an extension cable in so he could watch the show.
As he thanked his family, his 20-year-old son Gabriel shouted from the audience: "I love you, Dad."
As well as winning Best Film and Director, 'Slumdog Millionaire' also won awards for Adapted Screenplay, Music, Cinematography, Editing and Sound.
Penelope Cruz won the Supporting Actress prize for her role in the Woody Allen film 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona'.
'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', which received 11 Bafta nominations, putting it at level pegging with 'Slumdog Millionaire', took home three awards - Production Design, Make Up & Hair and Special Visual Effects.
Star of 'Doctor Who' and 'Adulthood' Noel Clarke was the people's choice during the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House, taking home the Orange Rising Star Award, which was voted for by the public.