LONDON – The force of “Gravity” was strong at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday – but unflinching drama “12 Years a Slave” took the top prize.
Steve McQueen’s visceral, violent story of a free black man kidnapped into servitude in the 19th-century U.S. South was named best picture. Its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, took the male acting trophy.
“Gravity” won six prizes, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron.
The 3-D special effects extravaganza also took the awards for sound, music, cinematography and visual effects. And despite its mixed parentage – made in Britain by a Mexican director and starring American actors – it was named best British film.
“American Hustle” charmed its way to three prizes, including original screenplay and supporting actress for Jennifer Lawrence. Its ’70s stylings took the hair and makeup award.
The best-actress prize went to Cate Blanchett for her turn as a socialite on the slide in “Blue Jasmine.”
The supporting actor prize went to Barkhad Abdi, who made an explosive screen debut as a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips.”
The prize for adapted screenplay went to “Philomena.”