Director Stephen Frears was honoured with a fellowship of the British Film Institute (BFI) on Saturday at a ceremony at the London Film Festival, where Russian movie "Leviathan" won the event's official award.
The 73-year-old filmmaker behind movies such as "Philomena", "The Queen" and "Dangerous Liaisons" joked that the fellowship award made him feel "geriatric".
"It's not over yet," he told the award ceremony at Banqueting House in London, adding that had "almost finished" his latest work, a biopic about cyclist Lance Armstrong.
Playwright and screenwriter David Hare paid tribute to Frears, saying: "I can't think of anyone who's made a richer, more diverse or more consistently intelligent contribution to British film in my lifetime."
The awards ceremony, on the eve of the closing day of the festival, saw the top prize awarded to Andrei Zvyagintsev's harrowing drama assailing abuse of power in today's Russia.
"Leviathan" had already won best screenplay at Cannes in May and Russia has put it forward as its nomination for the best foreign language film at the Oscars.
"Its grandeur and themes moved all of us in the same way," said Jeremy Thomas, president of the London competition jury.
The Sutherland Award, given to the most original and imaginative first feature, went to Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy for "The Tribe", a violent, silent drama set in a school for deaf-mute teenagers.
The Grierson Award for best documentary went to "Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait", Wiam Simav Bedirxan and Ossama Mohammed's film about the seige of the Syrian town of Homs.
Sameena Jabeen Ahmed was named best British newcomer for her "fearless" performance in thriller "Catch Me Daddy", about a girl on the run from her family in northern England.