Western romance Brokeback Mountain emerged as the big winner at the Orange Bafta awards, winning best film and director for Ang Lee.
Jake Gyllenhaal also won an award - as best supporting actor - for his role in it playing a gay rodeo cowboy.
There was disappointment for The Constant Gardener, which took only one of the 10 awards it was nominated for.
Philip Seymour Hoffman won best actor for Capote, while Reese Witherspoon won the actress award for Walk the Line.
The UK's Rachel Weisz had been nominated in the best actress category for The Constant Gardener, alongside Charlize Theron for North Country and Dame Judi Dench for Mrs Henderson Presents.
In all Brokeback Mountain won four awards, including best adapted screenplay. It is widely tipped to win many of the same awards at the Oscars in March.
Speaking backstage, director Lee said: "When we started making the movie we thought it was going to be a small precious film, now it's a big precious film.
"I'm not saying the British are smarter but I feel very committed to them."
'Just a pleasure'
But Heath Ledger and his real-life partner Michelle Williams missed out on the actor and supporting actress titles.
Speaking after receiving his supporting actor award, Gyllenhaal said: "It's just a pleasure to be a part of this movie and I can't even believe I've got this for it."
George Clooney also walked away empty handed, having been nominated for four awards, including two supporting ones for Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck and best director for Good Night, and Good Luck.
The best British film on the night went to Nick Park's animated feature Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit.
Accepting his award, Park said: "This is just amazing. I was just so delighted to be nominated alongside all the proper films tonight, I never thought I'd be up here."
The special achievement of a British director or producer in their first film went to director Joe Wright for his adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Wright said: "I'm just delighted. I really thought that because it was a panel vote it might go to people who had gone to war-torn places.
"I'm very surprised and delighted. It's going to go on top of my bookshelf and I'm going to look at it when I'm feeling a bit down."
Thandie Newton won for her role in Crash
He also said he was surprised Keira Knightley had not been nominated for her role in the film as Elizabeth Bennett.
"Thank you to Keira, my star who brought so much light and love to this film," said Wright in his acceptance speech.
"I do not know why she is not here tonight but I'm sure you will all join with me in wishing her all the luck at the Oscars."
Memoirs of a Geisha, based on Arthur Golden's best-selling novel, won three awards including best soundtrack, composed by John Williams, and costume design.
Ensemble drama Crash won two awards, including best supporting actress for Thandie Newton, who is part British and part Zimbabwean.
Paul Haggis won the best original screenplay for the film, which centres around 24 hours in a racially volatile Los Angeles.
The make-up and hair award went to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, while Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won best production design.
George Clooney left empty-handed
British film producer Lord Puttnam was given a Bafta fellowship in recognition of his body of work, which includes Chariots of Fire and The Killing Fields.
Lord Puttnam, who received a standing ovation when he collected his award, said he was disappointed Clooney had not won any awards.
"He puts his career on the line. He's been politically committed and has taken big cuts in his salary to make these kinds of films," he said.
"My hope is that other film-makers will do that too. "I'm sorry that Clooney didn't win best director because of what he put himself through."