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'12 Years a Slave' named best film at UK awards

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published February 16, 2014 at 12:59 p.m. Updated February 16, 2014 at 4:37 p.m.

LONDON — The force of "Gravity" was strong at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, but it was unflinching drama "12 Years a Slave" that took the top prize.

Steve McQueen's visceral, violent story of a free back man kidnapped into servitude in the 19th-century U.S. South was named best picture. Its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, took the male acting trophy.

Ejiofor thanked McQueen, a visual artist who turned to filmmaking with "Hunger" and "Shame," for bringing the story to the screen.

Lost-in-space thriller "Gravity," made in Britain by a Mexican director and starring American actors, won six prizes, including best director, for Alfonso Cuaron.

The 3-D special effects extravaganza also won the awards for sound, music, cinematography and visual effects, and despite its mixed parentage was named best British film.

Con-artist caper "American Hustle" charmed its way to three prizes, including original screenplay and supporting actress for Jennifer Lawrence. Its spectacular 70s stylings took the hair and makeup award.

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