Steve McQueen's acclaimed debut feature Hunger has been named best film at the Evening Standard Film awards.

The harrowing drama, an account of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands' final days, took the prestigious prize on a night when awards favourites Slumdog Millionaire and Kate Winslet went home empty-handed.

Golden Globe winner Slumdog Millionaire only claimed one award from its three nominations, for technical achievement, while Winslet was pipped to the best actress award by Tilda Swinton.

Unusually, the best actor prize was shared, with the judging panel unable to choose between Frost/Nixon's Michael Sheen and Pat Shortt in Garage.

The Reader helmer Stephen Daldry took the best director prize with Martin McDonagh claiming best screenplay for In Bruges.

"This year we have really seen the British film industry come of age. We are seeing British films triumphing over big-budget Hollywood epics," said Evening Standard film critic Derek Malcolm.

"The winners of reflect the huge talent and diversity that we have in this country and the judges were delighted to have the opportunity to honour incredible quality produced both in the bigger budget films, and the smaller independent productions this year."

02/02/2009 08:48:09