'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' lead British film awards.

Author:Lawless, Jill

Byline: Jill Lawless

LONDON -- The space thriller "Gravity,'' the unflinching slavery saga "12 Years a Slave'' and the crime caper "American Hustle'' gained awards-season momentum Wednesday with stacks of nominations for the British Academy Film and Television Arts' Film Awards, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars.

"Gravity'' received nominations in 11 categories, including best picture and lead actress, for Sandra Bullock.

"12 Years'' had 10 nominations, including nods for star Chiwetel Ejiofor, supporting performers Lupita Nyong'o and Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen.

"I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film is getting around the world,'' said British actor Ejiofor, who plays a free black man kidnapped into slavery in the 19th-century United States.

"There is, of course, something particularly special about receiving a BAFTA nomination from home,'' he said.

"American Hustle'' also was nominated in 10 categories, while Somali hijacking story "Captain Phillips'' received nine nods.

Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra'' and Mary Poppins story "Saving Mr. Banks'' each got five nominations.

The nominations give an awards boost to several films, especially "Gravity,'' an astonishing 3-D technical achievement, and the wrenching "12 Years a Slave.''

The list also demonstrates the increasing globalization of the movie business. "12 Years a Slave'' is an American story with a British director and star. "Gravity'' teams Hollywood stars Bullock and George Clooney with Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron and British special-effects teams.

The British-picture category includes motor-racing film "Rush,'' which has an American director, Ron Howard, a British screenwriter in Peter Morgan and stars from Australia (Chris Hemsworth) and Germany (Daniel Bruhl, who has a supporting-actor nomination.)

The best-picture nominees are: "12 Years a Slave''; "Gravity''; "American...

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