‘12 Years a Slave’ wins big with KC film critics

Steve McQueen’s 19th-century saga “12 Years a Slave” dominated voting among members of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle on Sunday with six awards.

The true story of a free African-American man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery won best picture, actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), supporting actress (Lupita Nyong’o), supporting actor (Michael Fassbender) and adapted screenplay (John Ridley). McQueen tied for best director with Alfonso Cuaron of the space odyssey “Gravity.”

“Gravity” pulled in a second award: Sandra Bullock won best actress for playing a stranded astronaut.

Writer/director Spike Jonze won best original screenplay for “Her,” in which a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with his computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The film also won the Vince Koehler Award for Best Fantasy, Science Fiction or Horror Film. It’s playing in a few cities and opens in Kansas City on Jan. 10.

Best animated feature was a tie as well, between “Frozen” and “Despicable Me 2.”

France’s NC-17-rated “Blue Is the Warmest Color” won best foreign language film. And “The Act of Killing,” in which former Indonesian death squad leaders re-enact their mass murders, won best documentary.

“12 Years a Slave” has done well in the national awards season as well. Last week, it tied with the ’70s con artist dramedy “American Hustle” for seven Golden Globe nominations and topped the Screen Actors Guild nominations with four. Academy Award nominations will be announced Jan. 16.