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'12 Years a Slave,' 'Gravity' among big winners at BAFTAs

The harrowing drama 12 Years A Slave scooped the best actor award for British star Chiwetel Ejiofor and best film award for director Steve McQueen at Britain’s top movie honours, the BAFTAs.

“Right now there are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here, 21 million people.  I just hope that 150 years from now our ambivalence will not allow another film maker to make this film,” McQueen said as he accepted the award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

It was the space thriller Gravity which landed the biggest haul of honours including outstanding British film and best director for Alfonso Cuaron.

“I’ve lived in London for the past 13 years, I’ve done almost half of my films in the UK.  I guess I make a very good case for curbing immigration,” Cuaron said.

Cate Blanchett scooped the leading actress award for Blue Jasmine.

Supporting actor and actress honours went to Barkhad Abdi and Jennifer Lawrence for Captain Philips and American Hustler respectively.

BAFTA’s president Prince William presented the organisation’s Fellowship award to Queen actress Helen Mirren.

“The recipient of this year’s Fellowship is an extremely talented actress whom I probably should call Granny.  Please welcome to the stage Dame Helen Mirren,” Prince William said.

The BAFTAs come just two weeks ahead of the Academy Awards and are widely seen as a guide to likely Oscar winners.