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London Critics' Circle Film Awards 2014: 12 Years A Slave claims best film

12 Years A Slave

Story by Jack Foley

STEVE McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave emerged as the big winner at the 2014 London Critics’ Circle Film Awards by claiming best film as well as two other prizes.

The drama, which is being viewed as an Oscar favourite, also saw leading man Chiwetel Ejiofor named best actor and his co-star Lupita Nyong’o win best supporting actress.

McQueen picked up the best film prize and immediately paid tribute to his mother, whose positive review of the film meant the most to him.

“There’s critics, there’s scholars, but then there’s you mum, so I’m very pleased about that,” he commented.

McQueen missed out on the best director prize, however, as that honour went to Alfonso Cuaron for space drama Gravity.

Cate Blanchett was named actress of the year for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, while Dame Judi Dench won British actress of the year for her central performance in Philomena.

She sent a video message from the set of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 in which she thanked critics for the prize and said what a pleasure it had been to make the film, and especially the chance it had given her to meet Philomena herself.

James McAvoy, meanwhile, took the best British actor prize for his work in Filth, Danny Boyle’s Trance and action thriller Welcome To The Punch – all of which were released in 2013.

Filth was also recognised with a second award for its director, Jon S Baird, who was named Breakthrough British Filmmaker.

The British film of the year prize, meanwhile, went to The Selfish Giant whose young star Conner Chapman also picked up Young British Performer of the Year.

Gary Oldman, meanwhile, was presented with the Dilys Powell award for excellence in film by John Hurt and admitted it was nice to get an award from the critics. Although he did use the opportunity to criticise the current culture of film criticism where any blogger can write what they like from the anonimity of their computer.

He commented: “I read them [reviews] less than I did, but once they’re out there you’re aware of them because you’ve got agents and managers and friends and family. People are looking at them, you know they’re there and they exist, and if your movie isn’t doing so well… I’ve been in a few stinkers.

“[But] when they get personal, I think that’s a boundary, when they step over that line. You get a lot of bloggers… They’re presenting me with the Dilys Powell award, who was a knowledgeable film scholar. She wasn’t just someone who sat down at a computer and thought, ‘Now I’m a reviewer’. We’re in an age where I think people can hide behind the computer.”

The awards ceremony was held at The May Fair Hotel in London on Sunday, February 2, 2014, but was to a certain extent overshadowed by news of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Critics’ Circle chairman Jason Solomons opened the event with a tribute to the late star.

The full list of winners at the 34th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards…

Film of the Year
12 Years a Slave

Foreign-language Film of the Year
Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Documentary of the Year
The Act of Killing

British Film of the Year
The Selfish Giant

Director of the Year
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

Screenwriter of the Year
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis

Actor of the Year
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Actress of the Year
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Supporting Actor of the Year
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Supporting Actress of the Year
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

British Actor of the Year
James McAvoy, Filth/Trance/Welcome to the Punch

British Actress of the Year
Judi Dench, Philomena

Young British Performer of the Year
Conner Chapman, The Selfish Giant

Breakthrough British Filmmaker
Jon S Baird, Filth

Technical Achievement Award
Tim Webber, Gravity special effects

Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film
Gary Oldman