Iran-hostage drama Argo has been named best picture at the British Academy Film Awards.

The crowd-pleasing movie won three Baftas, including best director for Ben Affleck.

Epic musical Les Miserables took four trophies at the awards presented by Bradley Cooper and Ben Affleck presented the awards.

Daniel Day-Lewis won the best-actor prize Sunday for Lincoln, and Emmanuelle Riva, the 85-year-old French film legend, was named best actress for Amour.

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The directing win gives Affleck's movie more momentum heading into the Hollywood Oscars on February 24.

Skyfall was named Outstanding British Film of the year at the awards which opened with a performance by Paloma Faith of the INXS hit Never Tear Us Apart.

The James Bond film, the third starring Daniel Craig as the suave spy, is already the highest-grossing film of all time at the UK box office.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence handed the award for Best Supporting Actor to Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained.

Accepting his award, he said it was an "immense honour" and paid tribute to its "silver-penned" writer.

He said: "Why I get to stand here is really no mystery because it says at the beginning of our film, 'written and directed by Quentin Tarantino'."

George Clooney presented the award for Supporting Actress to Les Miserables star Anne Hathaway.

The actress thanked the "golden-hearted group" who made the film and wished her co-star Eddie Redmayne, who is ill, well, saying: "Feel better. I mean I'd be holding your hair back, but, you know ... "

The award for Best Adapted Screenplay went to David O Russell for Silver Linings Playbook.

Brave, a Disney fantasy set in the Scottish Highlands, was named Best Animated Film.

Lincoln star Sally Field came on stage to present the award for Original Screenplay without her presenting partner Redmayne after he took ill backstage.

Field told the audience: "He seems to be puking his guts out back there."

Quentin Tarantino picked up the award for Django Unchained and thanked his actors for doing a "bang-up job with my dialogue".

Earlier, some of the biggest names in Hollywood braved the wind and the rain to meet fans on the red carpet at the awards.

Stars including Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence and Eddie Redmayne stopped to sign autographs and pose for pictures outside the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.

Among the celebrities at the event, formally known as the EE British Academy Film Awards, were Hobbit star Martin Freeman, Alicia Vikander and Tom Hiddleston.

Also on the red carpet were Daniel Day-Lewis, Jessica Chastain, George Clooney and Dame Helen Mirren - the latter sporting dyed pink hair.

BAFTA Awards 2013 Winners List:
Best Film
Argo
Outstanding British Film
Skyfall
Director
Ben Affleck

Leading Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Leading Actress
Emanuelle Riva, Amour
Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Outstanding British Debut
The Impostor
Film Not in the English Language
Margaret Menegoz

Original Screenplay
Django Unchained
Adapted Screenplay
Silver Linings Playbook
Documentary
Searching for Sugar Man
Animated Film
Brave
EE Rising Star
Juno Temple

- PAA and AP