An inaugural NSPCC award for young British performer of the year was presented to Thomas Turgoose for two very different roles; a teenager escaping a bad home life in Somers Town, and a ferocious yob in Eden Lake.
Kate Winslet won actress of the year for her performances in The Reader and Revolutionary Road, while Kristin Scott-Thomas picked up the award for British actress of the year for her performance in I've Loved You So Long.
The Wrestler had double success. It won film of the year and best actor award went to Mickey Rourke for his portrayal of an ageing prize-fighter. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button won director of the year for David Fincher and British actress in a supporting role for Tilda Swinton.
A portrayal of IRA prisoner Bobby Sands in Hunger scooped director Steve McQueen the award for breakthrough British film maker, with its star Michael Fassbender winning British actor of the year
Foreign language film of the Year went to Ari Folman's depiction of the 1982 Lebanon conflict, Waltz With Bashir. The award for British Actor in a supporting role went to Eddie Marsan for his obsessive driving instructor in Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky.
Finally, The Dilys Powell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinema was presented to Dame Judi Dench, for over 40 years of performances in classic British films such as A Room with a View and Shakespeare in Love. Dench is currently filming Nine, based on the 1982 Tony Award-winning musical of the same name.
Chairman of the London Film Critics Circle Jason Solomons said: 'This was a brilliant night of awards, with the UK's leading critics recognising some truly outstanding work from around the world.'
FULL LIST OF WINNERS
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Film of the Year
The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
Attenborough Film of the Year
Slumdog Millionaire(Danny Boyle)
Director of the Year
David Fincher (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button)
British Director of the Year
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Actor of the Year
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Actress of the Year
British Actor of the Year
Michael Fassbender (Hunger)
British Actress of the Year
Kristin Scott-Thomas (I've Loved You So Long)
British Actor in a Supporting Role
Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky)
British Actress in a Supporting Role
Tilda Swinton (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button)
Screenwriter of the Year
Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)
The NSPCC Award: Young British Performance of the Year
Breakthrough British Film-Maker
Steve McQueen (Hunger)
Foreign Language Film of the Year
Waltz With Bashir (Ari Folman)
The Dilys Powell Award
Dame Judi Dench