London - The James Bond movie Skyfall beat the musical Les Miserables to win the BAFTA award for outstanding British film on Sunday, a rare joy for 007 fans who feel the Martini-loving spy has been long overdue for a major trophy.
Judi Dench, who plays spymaster M in Skyfall, leapt out of her seat with a cry of surprise when the award was announced, kicking off the annual BAFTAs ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London.
"We all had very high expectations for the film and I think it's fair to say all of them have been exceeded, and this really is the icing on the cake," said Sam Mendes, the film's director.
Skyfall has become the most successful film in British box office history, but ahead of the ceremony the odds had been on Les Miserables to win. The Bond franchise has a long history of awards disappointments.
In the early categories, Skyfall also took the award for original music, while Les Miserables, the film version of a global hit stage musical, won the awards for sound and for make-up and hair.
Ang Lee's Life of Pi, about a man and a tiger lost at sea, won the BAFTA for best cinematography while Quentin Tarantino won the original screenplay award for his slavery-era Western Django Unchained.
Christoph Waltz walked away with the best supporting actor award for his role in the Tarantino movie.
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