It picked up best film, best director, best supporting actor for Jake Gyllenhaal and best adapted screenplay for Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.
The British hopeful that had led the nominations, The Constant Gardener, managed to win just one trophy for Claire Simpson as best editor.
The awards had a distinctly Hollywood flavour, with all the major acting and film prizes going to US productions.
British actress Thandie Newton did win supporting actress for her role in Crash, noting that winning on home turf was particularly gratifying: "There's a pride that we all absolutely share," she said of the British film community.
Best actor was Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote, while Reese Witherspoon was named best actress for Walk The Line.
Wallace And Gromit: Curse Of The Were Rabbit was named best British film (creator Nick Park said was particularly honoured that the film was recognised in the main category, not just an animated division), while Joe Wright picked up the Carl Foreman award for his debut as director of Pride & Prejudice.
Wright took a swipe at the British Academy for ignoring Keira Knightley for a best actress nomination (although she did garner an Oscar nomination.) And he said he planned to keep working in the UK and not run to Hollywood. "I intend to carry on making films in Britain about the British experience for British audiences, using British cast and crews," he said. Wright will work with Working Title again for his next project, Atonement, which is casting now and will shoot this summer.The inaugural Orange Rising Star award, voted for by the UK public, went to Scottish actor James McEvoy, who was among the stars of Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.
Memoirs Of A Geisha won the second-biggest number of awards of the evening, with honours for music (John Williams), cinematography (Dion Beebe) and costume design (Colleen Atwood).
David Puttnam was a gracious recipient of this year's Academy Fellowship, praising the evening's other award winners making "committed, decent films which absolutely had something to say." He tipped his hat in particular to multiple nominee George Clooney. Puttnam also left the audience in tears with a poignant tribute to his late father.It was among the most star-studded ceremonies with stars braving the rain on the red carpet, including George Clooney, Jude Law, Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott Thomas, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Thandie Newton and director Ang Lee.
Gyllenhaal said the rain added a Britishness to the evening. "It adds its own personal flair," he said, joking that he was poked by umbrellas a few times on the red carpet. Newton added: "The rain doesn't matter, we're here to celebrate."