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12 Years for SEFCA 

Critics' group honors slavery drama as year's best film

The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) yesterday named 12 Years a Slave the Best Picture of 2013 in its 22nd annual voting. Based on the memoir by Solomon Northup, a New York African-American who was born a free man but ended up getting kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South, the film earned a total of five awards, with its other victories coming in the categories of Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o), Best Director (Steve McQueen) and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley).

Director Steve McQueen and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor on the set of 12 Years a Slave. (Photo: Fox Searchlight)
  • Director Steve McQueen and actor Chiwetel Ejiofor on the set of 12 Years a Slave. (Photo: Fox Searchlight)

Aside from the 12 Years sweep, no other film won more than one award. In the other acting races, Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine and Jared Leto nabbed Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club. American Hustle won for Best Ensemble, while Spike Jonze scored Best Original Screenplay with Her.

In the remaining races, the Danish import The Hunt took top honors for Best Foreign Language Film, The Act of Killing grabbed Best Documentary Feature, Frozen won for Best Animated Feature and Gravity proved victorious in the Best Cinematography category.

The Wyatt Award, given annually to the "film that best evokes the spirit of the South" (past winners have included Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Help and Winter's Bone), this year went to writer-director Jeff Nichols' Mud.

The Southeastern Film Critics Association is comprised of film journalists from nine states representing the Southeastern section of the United States. This year, 51 members participated in the voting, including Charlotte critics Sean O'Connell, Lawrence Toppman, Harvey Burgess and me.

In addition to naming its Best Picture, SEFCA also releases its Top 10 for the year. The complete list of winners and runners-up in all categories is below.

BEST PICTURE

1. 12 Years a Slave

2. Gravity

3. American Hustle

4. Her

5. Inside Llewyn Davis

6. Nebraska

7. Dallas Buyers Club

8. Philomena

9. Captain Phillips

10. The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ACTOR

Winner - Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

* Runner-up - Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

BEST ACTRESS

Winner - Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

* Runner-up - Judi Dench, Philomena

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. (Photo: Focus Features)
  • Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club. (Photo: Focus Features)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner - Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

* Runner-up - Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner - Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

* Runner-up - Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

BEST ENSEMBLE

Winner - American Hustle

* Runner-up - 12 Years a Slave

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner - Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

* Runner-up - Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Winner - Spike Jonze, Her

* Runner-up - David O. Russell & Eric Singer, American Hustle

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Winner - John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

* Runner-up - Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan, Philomena

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner - The Act of Killing

* Runner-up – (tie) Blackfish and Muscle Shoals

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner - The Hunt (Denmark)

* Runner-up - Blue is the Warmest Color (France)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner - Frozen

* Runner-up - The Wind Rises

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner - Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

* Runner-up - Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave

GENE WYATT AWARD FOR FILM THAT BEST EVOKES THE SPIRIT OF THE SOUTH

Winner - Mud

* Runner-up - Muscle Shoals

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