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BAFTA 2014: The Highlights

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BAFTAHundreds of stars packed the red carpet in London last night for the 2014 BAFTA film awards. The evening had a distinctly British theme, with demonstrations that British talent – both in front of and behind the screen – is more than a match for Hollywood. Stephen Fry hosted the ceremony for the ninth time and here are some of the highlights:

There was little surprise when 12 Years a Slave, the powerful and emotional slave drama, took the top award for Best Picture and Chiwetel Ejiofor won Best Actor for his performance as Solomon Northup. The film's director, Steve McQueen, highlighted in his speech how millions are still in slavery today and how he hoped that “150 years from now our ambivalence will not allow another film maker to make this film.”

It was Gravity, however, which came away with the most number of awards, winning six in total including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. It may seem surprising that a film starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney is considered a British film, but Gravity was filmed at Pinewood and Shepperton studios and Cuarón suggested that, despite his accent, he considers himself “a part of the British film industry.”

Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine and dedicated the award in an emotional speech to Philip Seymour Hoffman, who recently died: "Phil, buddy, this is for you, you bastard. I hope you're proud." Disney's Frozen beat off competition from Despicable Me 2 and won Best Animation, whilst Steve Coogan's screenplay for drama Philomena triumphed in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

The EE Rising Star award went to 21-year-old Will Poulter (who starred in 2007's Son of Rambow) and Dame Helen Mirren received the BAFTA Fellowship award, marking her long and illustrious career in film and television. After receiving her award from Prince William, Mirren paid tribute to her former teacher, Alice Welding, and thanked her and other teachers for inspiring the passion which, she said, led so many actors to their glittering careers.

Now we are officially set for the Oscars 2014.

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