A Prophet was named the best film at the London Film Festival awards ceremony.
The French film, directed by Jacques Audiard - about an illiterate teenagers progress through jail - was hailed as "a masterpiece" by the jury.
They added: "A Prophet has the ambition, purity of vision and clarity of purpose to make it an instant classic. With seamless and imaginative story-telling, superb performances and universal themes, Jacques Audiard has made a perfect film."
The jury also gave a special mention to John Hillcoat's The Road, praising the filmâ€™s breathtaking vision, extraordinary performances and profound political statement.
The Grierson Award for best documentary was presented to Yoav Shamir for Defamation
On behalf of the jury Nick Broomfield said: "A fantastic film, Defamation does exactly what documentary, at its best, can do, making us re-examine our assumptions about an important and complex subject, in an absorbing and funny way. The film's intellectual courage, boldness of conception and the excitement of the journey on which it takes you make this a winning film."
The brand new award for best British newcomer, was given to screenwriter Jack Thorne for his work on The Scouting Book For Boys.
The jury said: "Jack Thorne is a poetic writer with an end-of-the-world imagination and a real gift for story-telling. Thorne's substantial authorship is revealed in the unique voices of the film's characters and the rich, soulful and playful layering of the story."
The jury also gave a special mention to J Blakeson, the writer and director of The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, commending his accomplished, original and ambitious filmmaking.
BFI fellowships were awarded to actor John Hurt and renowned Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cisse for their significant achievements in the fields of acting and directing.
The longstanding Sutherland Award is presented to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature screening in the Festival.
This year, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani took the award for their film Ajami. The jurors braned it: A bold and original piece of filmmaking."
The added: "Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani have made a film with a heart and a vision that speaks for a common humanity."