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Article updated: 12/16/2013 9:12 PM

Chicago film critics name '12 Years a Slave' 2013's best movie

Chicago Film Critics named Chiwetel Ejiofor, left, best actor of 2013 for his searing portrait of a kidnapped free man in Steve McQueen's “12 Years A Slave,” which won best picture. Best supporting actor nominee Michael Fassbender is at right.

Chicago Film Critics named Chiwetel Ejiofor, left, best actor of 2013 for his searing portrait of a kidnapped free man in Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave," which won best picture. Best supporting actor nominee Michael Fassbender is at right.

 
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The Chicago Film Critics Association Monday night named Steve McQueen's historical drama "12 Years a Slave" best picture of 2013.

The historical drama -- based on the memoir of a once-free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South -- won four other CFCA awards, including best director to McQueen, best actor to Chiwetel Ejiofor, best adapted screenplay to John Ridley and best supporting actress to newcomer Lupita Nyong'o for her role as a slave and the obsession of her white owner.

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The 53-member group named Cate Blanchett best actress for her performance as a former member of America's 1 percent coping badly with reduced circumstances in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." Critics also named Jared Leto as best supporting actor for his HIV-positive drag queen in "Dallas Buyers Club."

"The Wind Rises," the reportedly final film from world-renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki, was awarded best animated feature.

Critics named Destin Cretton the most promising filmmaker for his acclaimed directorial debut "Short Term 12."

French actress Adele Exarchopoulos took the Most Promising Performer Award for her electrifying lead performance in the controversial, NC-17-rated drama "Blue is the Warmest Color."

"Gravity," Alfonso Cuaron's visionary survival thriller about a space mission disaster, received best cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), art direction/production design (Mark Scruton and Andy Nicholson) and editing (Cuaron and Mark Sanger).

Critics gave their Best Documentary Award and Best Foreign-Language Film Award to "The Act of Killing," a production in which former Indonesian death squad leaders gleefully re-enact their crimes in highly cinematic terms.

"Her," a futuristic romantic comedy-drama about the relationship between a lonely man and a computer operating system, won best original screenplay for writer-director Spike Jonze and best original score for the rock band Arcade Fire.

The Chicago Film Critics awards were officially announced Monday at an all-critics dinner at Zia's Trattoria in Chicago. Go to chicagofilmcritics.org for details.

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