12 Years a Slave Sweeps 2014 Spirit Awards

The film won in several categories, including best feature, director and supporting actress.

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Spirit Award winner Steve McQueen

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for British Consulate General Los Angeles

On the eve of the Academy Awards, 12 Years a Slave scored big Saturday at the 2014 Spirit Awards, winning in several categories, including best feature, the Huffington Post reports. Additionally, Steve McQueen won for best director, Lupita Nyong’o for best supporting actress, John Ridley for best screenplay and Sean Bobbitt for cinematography.

The awards were handed out in Santa Monica, Calif., at the annual ceremony that honors independent films. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender were nominated for best lead male and best supporting male, respectively, but were routed by Matthew McConaughey, who won lead actor, and Jared Leto, who won best supporting actor, for their roles in Dallas Buyers Club.

Still, the Spirit Awards set the stage for 12 Years to make a good showing Sunday at the Academy Awards, when Nyong’o could earn a statuette for her debut performance.

"It's been a very intense season because there's been so many good films," industry journal Variety's awards editor Tim Gray told AFP in the run-up to the Oscars, Yahoo reports. "The very last envelope that's opened is going to be very suspenseful.”

Read more at the Huffington Post and Yahoo.