By Chris Michaud
REUTERS - "12 Years a Slave," Cate Blanchett and Matthew McConaughey were among big winners at the Critics Choice Movie Awards on Thursday, taking honors for best picture, actress and actor.
The all-star "American Hustle," about 1970s corruption which earlier Thursday received 10 Oscar nominations, was named best comedy film, with Amy Adams winning best comedy actress.
The 281-member Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics' organization in the United States and Canada, also gave the film its best acting ensemble prize at the event in Santa Monica, California.
Leonardo DiCaprio won best comedy actor for "The Wolf of Wall Street," setting the pattern early for the awards which virtually mirrored the top winners at Sunday's Golden Globes.
Blanchett, who also won the Globe and is favored for the Oscar, was honored for Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," in which she plays the unbalanced wife of a disgraced Bernard Madoff-like swindler.
Many stars who were nominated - or snubbed - just hours earlier for the Oscars, Hollywood's top honors, were on hand, including Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.
Jared Leto won best supporting actor for his turn as a transsexual fighting AIDS in "Dallas Buyers Club." He dedicated his award to "all the people around the world who are living with HIV (and) all the people who have lost their lives to this horrific disease."
Both McConaughey, who plays the real-life, heterosexual Ron Woodroof who became an AIDS activist after being diagnosed in the 1980s and given weeks to live, and Leto won Golden Globes on Sunday, and both were nominated for Oscars on Thursday.
"Thank you, this is fun," exclaimed a clearly elated McConaughey, who thanked Woodruff "for living a life that was damned well worth putting to the big screen."
Lupita Nyong'o, who plays slave Patsey in "12 Years a Slave," won best supporting actress, prevailing over such A-list contenders in the category as Roberts and Oprah Winfrey.
Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón was named best director for the outer-space hit "Gravity," which also took prizes for visual effects, film editing and cinematography. Star Sandra Bullock also won best actress in an action film, calling "Gravity" "a movie that should not have worked - but it did."
The acclaimed French lesbian love story, "Blue is the Warmest Color," which was snubbed by the Oscars earlier on Thursday when it failed to be nominated, won the award for best foreign language film.
Twenty-year-old Adèle Exarchopoulos was named best young actor or actress for "Blue Is the Warmest Color," and noted in her acceptance speech at the gala dinner, "I can't even drink."
Best sci-fi/horror film went to "Gravity," while Mark Wahlberg won best actor in an action film for the true-life war film, "Lone Survivor," which was also named best action film.
The Disney hit "Frozen" won best animated feature, and "Let It Go" from the same film took the award for best song.
"20 Feet From Stardom," about backup singers for music icons, was named best documentary.
The writing awards went to "Her" for original screenplay and "12 Years a Slave" for adapted screenplay.
The prizes were handed out following the Golden Globes, part of the host of awards leading up to the Oscars, Hollywood's all-important honors ceremony to be held on March 2.
Actor-director Forest Whitaker received the Joel Siegel award, named for the late film critic, for his humanitarian work. Winfrey presented the award to Whitaker.
Stars Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke and director Richard Linklater won the Louis XIII Genius Award for the romantic trilogy "Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset" and "After Midnight."