While "Gravity" was the nights biggest winner with six BAFTA's, including Outstanding British Film and Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron, "12 Years A Slave" pulled out a last minute triumph taking the big prize...Best Film, while Chiwitel Ejiofor gave the film its first honor of the night winning the Best Actor award. Oscar frontrunner Matthew McConaughy ("Dallas Buyers Club") was not nominated in the Best Actor category, but Leonardo DiCaprio was expected to win for "The Wolf of Wall Street'.
With "Gravity' and "12 Years A Slave' tying at the Producers guild Awards, the BAFTA win is a sign that "12 Years...' could hold its own against the flashier "Gravity" in one of the most competitive Oscar races I have seen in more than a decade.
Cate Blanchett won Best Actress award for Blue Jasmine. However, the surprise win of the night was Jennifer Lawrence's win for "American Hustle" over frontrunner Lupita N'yongo in '12 Years A Slave' in a field that also included Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County") and Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine"). Barkhad Abdi, a non-professional who was found by director Paul Greengrass driving a limo in Minneapolis, beat fellow Oscar nominees Michael Fassbender ("12 Years A Slave") and Bradley Cooper ("American Hustle"). Oscar frontrunner, Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club") was not nominated.
"The Great Beauty" won in the foreign-language category, while "The Act of Killing" was named Best Documentary and "Frozen" was named Best Animated film. All three are Oscar nominees in those categories. Original Screenplay prize went to "American Hustle" and the Adapted Screenplay went to "Philomena." On the craft-awards side, in addition to the four wins for "Gravity.", "The Great Gatsby" won for production and costume design. "Rush" won for editing and "American Hustle" won for makeup/hairstyling.
Director Peter Greenaway won an honorary award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, while Dame Helen Mirren was awarded BAFTA's highest honor, the Academy Fellowship.
The winner of BAFTA's Best Film prize has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture for the last five years, although the two groups had the same winner only five times in the 15 years before that. Buckle your seat belts kids...Oscar night on March 2nd is gonna give us the ride of our lives.