12 Years a Slave has won the most prizes at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards last night.
It was named film of the year, while Chiwetel Ejiofor won actor of the year, and co-star Lupita Nyong’o won best supporting actress.
British director Steve McQueen said he had “felt so much love for this film in this country”.
The awards took place exactly four weeks before the Oscars in Hollywood.
12 Years a Slave is considered the front-runner for best picture, and it has nine nominations in total, including Steve McQueen for best director.
It also has 10 nominations for the Bafta Film Awards, two weeks away on February 16.
The London Critics’ Circle ceremony, at London’s May Fair Hotel on Sunday, began on a somber note as news broke of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death in New York.
When film critic Jason Solomons opened the awards by paying tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman, guests stood in spontaneous appreciation.
Philip Seymour Hoffman won a best supporting actor award at last year’s event for his performance as a cult leader in The Master.
Among the stars on the red carpet were Steve Coogan, Naomie Harris, Andy Serkis, John Hurt and Gary Oldman – who was honoured with the Dilys Powell award for excellence in film.
Cate Blanchett was named actress of the year for her performance in Blue Jasmine and Judi Dench won British actress of the year.
Alfonso Cuaron was named director of the year for his 3D space thriller, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. The film also took the best technical achievement award.
Clio Barnard’s low-budget drama The Selfish Giant, a contemporary English fable about two excluded schoolboys who start working for a dodgy local scrap dealer, was named British film of the year.
Conner Chapman, the teenage star of The Selfish Giant who was plucked from obscurity from his school in Bradford, was named young British performer of the year.
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