Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet has scooped the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival’s inaugural Star Of London award for best film (October 28).

The award was handed out at the festival’s first stand alone awards ceremony, held at the Inns of Court in London last night. The black tie dinner was hosted by American TV and radio presenter Paul Gambaccini.

Jury chair Anjelica Huston, who presented the award to the film’s star Tahar Rahim, said of France’s foreign-language Academy Award submisison: “A masterpiece, Un Prophete 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 best film jury, made up of John Akomfrah, Jarvis Cocker, Matthieu Kassovitz, Charlotte Rampling and Iain Softley, also gave a special mention to John Hillcoat’s The Road

Another first-time presentation was the Best British Newcomer award celebrating a film-maker who had demonstrated “real creative flair and imagination with their first feature”. It went to The Scouting Book For Boys screenwriter Jack Thorne and was presented by Brit actors Dominic Cooper (An Education) and Jodie Whittaker (Venus).

The jury gave a special mention to J Blakeson, the writer and director of The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, which premiered recently in Toronto.

Yoav Shamir picked up the Grierson Award for best documentary for Defamation. Shamir, who was presented with the award by Nick Broomfield, said it was a “great honour to be receiving this from one of my favourite directors.”

Meanwhile, the longstanding Sutherland Award presented to the maker of the most original and imaginative first feature went to Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Ajami, Israel’s foreign-language Oscar submission.

John Hurt and Malian filmmaker Souleymane Cissé earned BFI Fellowships for their “significant achievements in the fields of acting and directing.”

After being presented with the Fellowship award by longtime collaborators Jeremy Thomas and Michael Caton-Jones, Hurt said he was “deeply moved”. He added: ” To be at the very epicentre of film education in this country, I can’t imagine any greater honour”

Hurt stars in two films that screened in the festival, 44 Inch Chest and The Limits Of Control. Cissé’s Tell Me Who You Are received its UK premiere at the festival.