British director Steve McQueen with the award for best film for 12 Years a Slave at the BAFTA British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House in London, Feb. 16, 2014

Following a night of losses in key categories at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards ceremony Sunday, 12 Years a Slave was named best film of 2013, according to the Wrap.

Steve McQueen’s poignant drama garnered the last-minute triumph after Chiwetel Ejiofor won for best actor at the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House.

12 Years beat out other popular Oscar contenders, including Gravity, American Hustle, Captain Phillips and Philomena.

The win signals that 12 Years is a strong Oscar contender in one of the most competitive races in more than a decade. It was the second win for the film, which last month won best drama at the Golden Globes.


Ejiofor’s award was the first for the film, which had lost in a number of races, including supporting actor, supporting actress and adapted screenplay.

Jennifer Lawrence of American Hustle and Barkhad Abdi of Captain Phillips won best supporting actress and actor, respectively.


Lupita Nyong’o was a narrow favorite to win in a group of nominees that included Julia Roberts for August: Osage County and Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine.

Abdi, a non-professional who was discovered by director Paul Greengrass driving a limo in Minneapolis, claimed the prize over Oscar nominees Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave and Bradley Cooper for American Hustle


Read more at the Wrap.