— LONDON (AFP) – “12 Years a Slave”, the distressing tale of a man sold into slavery, was the big winner at the Baftas on Sunday, giving the Steve McQueen directed picture a huge pre-Oscars boost.
The film, adapted from Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, took the coveted best film prize at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House.
It scored an earlier success when Igbo-British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who portrays free black man Northup as he is kidnapped and enslaved in the United States, walked away with the best actor prize.
Ejiofor said he was “so deeply honoured and privileged” to receive the award and praised McQueen.
“This is yours by the way, I know that, you know that,” he told the director. “I’m going to keep it but it’s yours”.
London-born McQueen used his acceptance speech to thank his “one and only mother” and to highlight the issue of modern day slavery.