Chiwetel Ejiofor wins best actor at UK film awards

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Actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sari Mercer pose for photographers on the red carpet at the EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Opera House on Sunday Feb. 16, 2014, in London. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

LONDON (AP) — Chiwetel Ejiofor has won the best-actor prize at the British Academy Film awards for unflinching slavery drama "12 Years a Slave."

The British actor thanked director Steve McQueen for bringing to the screen the true story of a free black man kidnapped into servitude in the 19th-century American South.

He told McQueen: "This is yours. I'm going to keep it — that's the kind of guy I am — but it's yours."

The best-actress prize went to Cate Blanchett for her turn as a socialite on the slide in "Blue Jasmine." She dedicated the award to actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died this month.

Alfonso Cuaron was named best director for "Gravity" — one of a clutch of prizes for the sci-fi thriller.