Hard-hitting French prison drama "A Prophet" won the first-ever best film prize at the London Film Festival on Wednesday.
Jacques Audiard's thriller about a teenage prisoner's rise through the criminal ranks also took the second-place grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Actress Anjelica Huston, one of the members of the London festival jury, called it "a perfect film ... an instant classic and a masterpiece."
The jury also gave a special mention to "The Road," John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel.
The 53-year-old London festival has introduced the best-picture prize this year as it tries to boost its profile to compete with better-known events in Berlin, Venice and Toronto.
Jack Thorne, screenwriter of "The Scouting Book for Boys," won the award for best British newcomer. The announcement was made at a dinner ceremony in London.
The festival also handed out documentary and first-feature prizes to films from the Middle East.
The Grierson prize for documentary was won by Israel's Yoav Shamir for "Defamation," a look at anti-Semitism around the world. Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani took the Sutherland first-feature award for their jointly directed "Ajami," set in a mixed Jewish-Arab district of Jaffa.
Veteran British actor John Hurt and Malian director Souleymane Cisse received lifetime achievement awards known as British Film Institute Fellowship.
The two-week festival opened Oct. 14 with a gala premiere of Wes Anderson's animated adventure "Fantastic Mr. Fox," attended by voice stars George Clooney and Bill Murray.
It closes Thursday with the world premiere of "Nowhere Boy," artist Sam Taylor-Wood's film about the young John Lennon.