Entertainment & Arts

Steve McQueen named best director by New York critics

Steve McQueen
Image caption Steve McQueen's film charts the abduction and sale of a man into slavery in the 19th century

British film-maker Steve McQueen has been named best director by the New York Film Critics Circle for his hard-hitting movie 12 Years a Slave.

The organisation named American Hustle best film, while Robert Redford took best actor for All Is Lost.

Cate Blanchett was named best actress for her portrayal of a fallen socialite in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

The group is one of the first to announce results in the film awards season, culminating in the Oscars.

The Academy Awards are due to take place in Los Angeles on 2 March, 2014.

Image caption American Hustle is the story of a group of con artists enlisted by the FBI

American Hustle was also successful in two other categories, with Jennifer Lawrence winning best supporting actress and recognition for Russell and Eric Singer's screenplay.

Jared Leto was named best supporting actor for his portrayal of a transsexual grappling with HIV in Dallas Buyers Club.

Other winners included best foreign language film for French release Blue is the Warmest Colour and best animated film for The Wind Rises.

The New York Film Critics Circle will present their awards in a ceremony on 6 January.

The organisation was founded in 1935, and their early findings are seen as possible pointers to films that could perform well throughout the rest of the movie awards season.

The next major marker will be the announcement of the Golden Globe nominations on 12 December.

Last year, the Critics Circle chose Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty as their best film, although the Oscar eventually went to Ben Affleck's Argo.

The year before, both organisations selected The Artist for the best picture accolade.

The Critics Circle announcement was preceded by the Gotham Independent Awards on Monday night, which picked Inside Llewyn Davis as best film ahead of American Hustle, which is the story of 1970s con artists forced to collude with the FBI.

The Coen Brothers' movie, about a young singer in New York's 1960s folk scene, was awarded best cinematography by the Critics Circle.

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