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‘12 Years a Slave’, ‘Gravity’ win big at BAFTAs

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-17

Harrowing historical drama “12 Years a Slave” took the top prize at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), Britain’s most prestigious film award ceremony, in London on Sunday night.

Based on the true story of a free black man kidnapped into servitude in the 19th-century American South, Steve McQueen’s violent, visually accomplished film was named Best Picture, while its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, snagged the male acting trophy.

But perhaps the biggest winner on Sunday was the 3D lost-in-space thriller “Gravity”, which took home six awards, including Best British Film (the movie was made in Britain) and Best Director for Mexican-born Alfonso Cuaron.

Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for her bravura performance as a mentally unravelling socialite in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”. Any concerns that the controversy surrounding renewed allegations that Allen molested his adopted daughter, Dylan, would harm Blanchett’s chances have so far proved unfounded.

Blanchett dedicated the award to her friend and colleague Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died this month, calling him “a monumental presence who is now sadly an absence”.

A surprise win for Somali-born ‘Captain Phillips’ actor

Another movie that had a strong showing at Sunday’s ceremony was David O. Russell’s colourful 1970s-set caper “American Hustle”, which picked up Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence (who plays the unstable wife of Christian Bale’s con artist) and Best Original Screenplay.

In one of the most enthusiastically applauded moments of the night, the supporting actor prize went to Barkhad Abdi, who made a striking screen debut as a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips”. Before being cast in the movie, the Mogadishu-born Abdi was working as a limousine driver in Minnesota.

Coming two weeks before Hollywood’s Academy Awards, the BAFTAs are watched as an indicator of likely Oscar success, though this year’s race seems slightly less predictable than most; three films, “12 Years a Slave”, “Gravity”, and “American Hustle”, seem to by vying for frontrunner status.

The Oscars will take place in Los Angeles on March 2.

Date created : 2014-02-17

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