The film -- about a poor, uneducated man's journey to become the unlikely winner of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" in India -- also earned prizes for best young actor or actress for star Dev Patel; best screenplay for Simon Beaufoy; best director for Danny Boyle; and best composer for A.R. Rahman.
Sean Penn picked up the award for best lead actor for his work in "Milk," and he and his co-stars were named the best acting ensemble.
Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway shared the best lead actress prize -- Streep for "Doubt" and Hathaway for "Rachel Getting Married."
The late Heath Ledger earned the prize for best supporting actor for his work in "The Dark Knight" and Kate Winslet took the supporting actress prize for her performance in "The Reader."
"The Dark Knight" won for best action film, "Wall-E" was declared the best animated film and "Tropic Thunder" was named best comedy.
Bruce Springsteen snagged the award for best song for the title track of "The Wrestler."