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Steve McQueen claims most prestigious prize in film

WINNER: McQueen with his best picture Oscar (PA)

BRITISH DIRECTOR Steve McQueen must be one of the happiest men in the arts right now after having the honour of seeing his motion picture 12 Years A Slave receive best film at the Oscars.

He is the first black British man to win the award.

The film, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, was widely tipped for the most prestigious gong in the film industry, and there were no surprises or upsets that it won.

McQueen seemed pretty sure of its chances in having a prepared acceptance speech for the accolade.

Yet the film-maker and artist was trumped in the best director category, which was handed to Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron, who saw his movie win the most awards at last night’s (March 2) ceremony in Los Angeles.

McQueen dedicated his award to “all those people who have endured slavery”.

He added: “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live.

“This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”

Northup was the free man kidnapped into slavery whose memoirs the film is based upon.

Apart from claiming best picture, 12 Years A Slave won best adapted screenplay and best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o, who plays a slave girl abused by her owner.

Matthew McConaughey won best actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, while Cate Blanchett claimed best actress in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.

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