But it was the battle between Oasis and Coldplay that dominated the ceremony - ending with Coldplay being acclaimed the best act in the world today but Oasis winning the best album and people's choice awards.
After Oasis stormed back to the charts with the album Don't Believe the Truth, they polled more votes overall than any other band in the categories chosen by fans.
Paul Rees, editor of Q music magazine which has held the awards for 19 years, said the groups had been the dominant bands of the year. "The return of both Coldplay and Oasis has been good for Q and for music in general in this country."
Noel Gallagher of Oasis said: "It was a change to not get the token live act award for being able to play the guitar. Best album - nice one."
Chris Martin of Coldplay extended a hand of friendship to Oasis, sending his love to Noel's brother Liam and adding: "Some of you probably hate us but I couldn't give a fuck [can we use that] because we're the best act in the world."
But music from many decades was honoured at the lunchtime ceremony in London. Yoko Ono accepted a special award in memory of her husband John Lennon, the Beatle who would have been 65 at the weekend. "I wish he [John] were here today, he would have loved it," she said.
Nick Cave was hailed classic songwriter while Damon Albarn presented Ray Davies, one of his great influences, with the classic song award for The Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset".
Albarn was honoured for his cartoon band Gorillaz, which won the best video award for "Feel Good Inc" against rivals including Oasis. He also took the best producer award for Demon Days produced with Danger Mouse, the DJ.
The former soldier James Blunt beat competition including the Magic Numbers and Kaiser Chiefs to be named best new act of 2005.
And another newcomer, K T Tunstall, defeated Coldplay and Oasis to take the best track prize for "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree", the song which propelled her to fame when she performed it on Jools Holland's late-night television show.
Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin's guitarist, received the Q icon award, while the outstanding contribution to music award was presented to Paul Weller in recognition of a career spanning from The Jam to his current solo work. Joy Division's lasting influence on British music was honoured with the special Q legend trophy presented to the original band members Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morrison, now of New Order, and to Deborah Curtis, the widow of the band's singer, Ian Curtis, who committed suicide 25 years ago in the same year as John Lennon was shot.
Paul Rees said that his magazine had always covered the best music from all eras and styles. "This year the Q awards highlighted two things; that 2005 has been a vintage year for music in the UK and that the power of the music and artists that Q has always championed remains undimmed."
Other prizes included an innovation in sound award for The Prodigy "in acknowledgement of their unique hybrid of dance and early rave with guitar-driven hard rock".
Chris Martin handed over another special prize to Michael Eavis, founder of the Glastonbury Festival where Coldplay headlined this summer while the Icelandic star Björk took the inspiration award.
Despite a career that is longer than the Q awards themselves, U2 took the best live act prize for the first time for their sold-out Vertigo tour while a disco revival could be in the offing with the presentation of the lifetime achievement award to the Bee Gees.
The other winners
People's choice Oasis
Best new act James Blunt
Classic song Ray Davies for "Waterloo Sunset"
Classic songwriter Nick Cave
Best live act U2
Best video Gorillaz for "Feel Good Inc"
Birthday honour Michael Eavis
Icon award Jimmy Page
Best producer Gorillaz and Danger Mouse for Demon Days
Lifetime achievement awards Bee Gees
Outstanding contribution to music Paul Weller
Innovation The Prodigy
Legend Joy Division
Inspiration award Björk