Steve McQueen’s '12 Years A Slave' continued its triumphant march towards next month’s Oscars at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards tonight.
Stars including Naomie Harris, John Hurt, Gary Oldman and Steve Coogan gathered at The May Fair hotel in London for the ceremony, whichh began on a sombre note as news of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death had just broken.
Film critic Jason Solomons opened the awards by paying tribute to the late actor and director who was last year named best supporting actor by the circle for his performance in 'The Master'.
'12 Years A Slave' won film of the year, star Chiwetel Eijiofor was named actor of the year, and his co-star Lupita Nyong’o won best supporting actress.
Director McQueen said the review that meant the most to him was from his mother.
Asked whose praise was most important to him he said: “My mum, my mum above all!
“There’s critics, there’s scholars, but then there’s you mum, so I’m very pleased about that.”
Alfonso Cuaron was named director of the year for his 3D space epic 'Gravity', Cate Blanchett was named actress of the year for her performance in 'Blue Jasmine' and Judi Dench won British actress of the year.
Dench sent a video message from the set of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2'.
She said: “I’m very sorry I can’t be with you tonight, but as you can see I’m out in India having a lovely time.
“I’m thrilled. Making 'Philomena' was a wonderful experience, not least getting to meet Philomena herself.”
Gary Oldman was presented with the Dilys Powell award for excellence in film by John Hurt.
Oldman admitted it was nice to get an award from the critics.
He joked: “You don’t have to look over your shoulder tonight.”
'The Dark Knight Rises 'star said he did not take reviews to heart but he felt the internet allowed people to anonymously attack actors, with no basis.
Oldman said: “I read them 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.
“There were a few 20 years ago that were a little... 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.”
Naomie Harris, who was nominated in the supporting actress category but lost out to Nyong’o, said the greatest review she received for her performance as Winnie Mandela in 'The Long Walk To Freedom' was from Winnie herself.
The Bond girl said: “It’s a huge honour to have people like the movie and like my performance, that’s really fantastic.
”But the main thing that really mattered most to me was hearing Winnie say that she felt that I’d captured her and I’d honoured her legacy.
”That was huge to me and I’ll never forget that.“
Here is a 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