Italian film Gomorra took five of the 15 top awards at the 21st European Film Awards in Copenhagen on Saturday, including best film, best screenplay and the Carlo di Palma award for best photography.

Its director, Matteo Garrone, was named best director and lead performer Toni Servillo took the best actor award.

A hard-hitting exposé of Naples' criminal underworld that also won the Grand Prix at Cannes this year, Gomorra is based on the best-selling novel by the same name by Roberto Saviano. Saviano was unable to attend the ceremony because he's been under police protection since the book was published in 2006 because of death threat.

Kristin Scott Thomas won the award for best actress for the French film I've Loved You So Long.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix received the People's Choice Award.

And Oscar-winning British actress Judi Dench won an award honouring her life's work, and received a standing ovation.