BAFTA Awards: “12 Years a Slave” Wins Best Film, Best Actor Prizes

12 Years A Slave

According to Variety.com, the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Film went to 12 Years a Slave.  In his speech, helmer-producer Steve McQueen said that there were “21 million people living in slavery as we sit here now.” McQueen was joined at the event by fellow producers Anthony Katagas, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner.

The leading actor award went to Chiwetel Ejiofor for his performance in 12 Years a Slave. He paid tribute to McQueen, and said that the award really belonged to the director. “It’s yours. I’m going to keep it, but it is yours,” he said.  Although 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o lost out to Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, the award for Supporting Actor was picked up by Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips. He thanked the performers who played the other pirates in the film. “We came from nothing and I got this (the BAFTA),” he said.

The honor for leading actress went to Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. She dedicated the award to “the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman.” “You raised the bar so very high… So, Phil, this is for you, you bastard. I hope you are proud,” she said.  Alfonso Cuaron took the director prize for Gravity.  He said he considered himself to be part of the British film industry as he had lived in the U.K. for 13 years, and had made half of his films in the country. “I guess I make a very good case for curbing immigration,” he joked — a reference perhaps to the ongoing debate in the U.K. about the benefits and costs of immigration.

The awards, which were hosted by British thespian Stephen Fry, were attended by Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and nominated actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom HanksMatt Damon, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Bruhl, Emma Thompson, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Dern and Judi Dench.  Nominated directors who attended were Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Cuaron, McQueen, David O. Russell and Paul Greengrass.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

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