Slow-cooked coming-of-age tale "Boyhood" took the best film and director trophies at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, while Wes Anderson's candy-colored comedy "The Grand Budapest Hotel" won the biggest haul of prizes, with five.
Both are distinctive works by directors with strong signatures, and there were also multiple trophies for Stephen Hawking biopic "The Theory of Everything" and jazz-drumming drama "Whiplash" at an event that proved small, personal films could emerge as winners.
Richard Linklater, who spent 12 years making "Boyhood," was named best director, and Patricia Arquette won the supporting-actress trophy as a struggling mother in the film.
"Boyhood" star Ellar Coltrane, who grew from 6 to 18 onscreen, thanked British voters for rewarding "an exercise of collaboration and vulnerability."
The British awards are considered an indicator of likely success at Hollywood's Academy Awards later this month.
Eddie Redmayne, already an awards-season favorite, won the best-actor prize for his performance as physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything."
Julianne Moore was named best actress for portraying a woman with Alzheimer's in "Still Alice."
Anderson won the original screenplay trophy for "The Grand Budapest Hotel, which also took prizes for production design, costumes, hair and makeup and Alexandre Desplat's score.
Damien Chazelle's jazz-drumming drama "Whiplash" -- a taut psychological showdown that was shot in 19 days -- took prizes for sound and editing. The supporting-actor trophy went to the film's J.K. Simmons, a stalwart character actor who is finally receiving major awards recognition.
British talent has been especially well represented in Hollywood this year, led by multiple awards nominations for "The Theory of Everything" and World War II code-breaking saga "The Imitation Game."
Redmayne said the success of "The Theory of Everything" had been "mind-blowing," but insisted he hadn't been changed by the awards-season whirlwind.
"It's all so wonderful and glamorous, but it's all a lot of smoke and mirrors as well," he said.
Awards-season high-flyer "Birdman" had its wings clipped, taking only a cinematography prize from 10 nominations. And World War II code-breaking drama "The Imitation Game" went away empty-handed despite nine nominations.
Awards organizers said that acclaimed civil rights drama "Selma," which stars British actor David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., was overlooked because it arrived in Britain too late for the 6,500 academy members to see it. The film's tally of just two Oscar nominations helped spark a debate about Hollywood's lack of diversity.
"Imitation Game" star Benedict Cumberbatch said the omission of "Selma" was the "one bitter note" of the event.
"I wish David Oyelowo was here with us as well," he said. "I'll be honoring him in my head tonight."
The British academy also overlooked Mike Leigh's artist biopic "Mr. Turner" in the major categories, despite critical praise and a Cannes best-actor prize for star Timothy Spall.
But Leigh has not been forgotten. He is due to receive a lifetime honor, the British Academy Fellowship, for a body of films blending social realism and sly humor.
The awards are presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which hosts a separate ceremony for TV programs.