British movie Slumdog Millionaire hit the jackpot at the annual Critics' Choice Awards, scooping five gongs including best picture.

Danny Boyle picked up best director for the film, while 18-year-old Dev Patel was named best young actor/actress for his part in the story of how impoverished Indian teen Jamal Malik became a contestant on the Hindi version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

At a star-studded ceremony in Santa Monica, California, there was also British success for Kate Winslet, who won best supporting actress. The late Heath Ledger, who died of an overdose in New York last January, received a posthumous standing ovation after being named best supporting actor for his role as the Joker in The Dark Night.

But the latest Batman film was beaten to the best movie slot by Slumdog Millionaire. The film also saw awards going to AR Rahman and Simon Beaufoy, for best composer and best writer respectively.

Accepting his award, Boyle said: "As a Brit, back in the old country, it is amazing to see how generous you have been to this film."

He also paid tribute to Mumbai - where the film is set - following the recent terrorist attacks in the city.

Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire was nominated alongside Changeling, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Wall-E and The Wrestler for the role of best picture.

Winslet, 33, took the best supporting actress for her role in The Reader, set in post-war Germany.

She was up against Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Viola Davis for Doubt, Vera Farmiga for Nothing But The Truth, Taraji P Henson for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, and Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler.

Neither Winslet or Patel attended the ceremony to pick up their awards.