Argo named best film, Day-Lewis best actor

Iran-hostage drama Argo continued its journey as the awards-season favourite Sunday, winning three prizes, including best picture, at the British Academy Film Awards.

Ben Affleck was named best director for the based-on-reality story of a longshot plan to rescue a group of American diplomats from Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The film also took the editing trophy.

Affleck, who has made a remarkable journey from little-regarded actor to award-winning director, dedicated his directing prize to "anyone out there who's trying to get their second act".

George Clooney, a producer of Argo, quipped: "I don't know what you're going to do for a third act."

Daniel Day-Lewis won his universally-expected best actor trophy for Lincoln — the only prize out of 10 nominations for Steven Spielberg's historical biopic.

Day-Lewis — a famously intense actor who reportedly stayed in character as the 16th US President throughout the Lincoln shoot — cracked a joke as he was given his prize. He said in anticipation of having to make an acceptance speech, "I've actually stayed in character as myself for the last 55 years."

Emmanuelle Riva, the 85-year-old French film legend, was named best actress for Michael Haneke's poignant old-age portrait Amour. It also was named best foreign-language film.

Made-in-Britain French revolutionary musical Les Miserables won four prizes, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway. James Bond adventure Skyfall spied some elusive awards recognition, winning trophies for music and best British film.

Kathryn Bigelow's Osama bin Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty was shut out of the prizes, despite five nominations. Quentin Tarantino picked up the original screenplay award for Django Unchained; Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor for playing a loquacious bounty hunter in Tarantino's slave-revenge thriller.

Writer-director David O Russell won the adapted screenplay prize for Silver Linings Playbook, a comedy about characters confronting mental illness.

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