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12 Years A Slave poised for Spirit Awards wins, ahead of Oscars

Published on Mar 2, 2014 6:15 AM
Nominee for Best Supporting Female award Lupita Nyong'o, from 12 Years A Slave, arrives with her mother Dorothy at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on March 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Gritty slavery drama 12 Years A Slave leads the race for the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, as the film community gathers to honour smaller-budget and art house movies that are often strong contenders at the Academy Awards the next day.

Directed by Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave earned seven Spirit Awards nominations including best feature, director, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and best supporting nods for Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o.

The film has sparked a conversation on racial equality during awards season with its portrayal of the harsh, brutal reality of America's slavery history. It has become the frontrunner for Sunday's Oscars, where it will vie for the top races including best picture, actor and director.

The Spirit Awards, held in a giant tent on California's Santa Monica beach and hosted this year by Patton Oswalt, is a more casual affair compared to the glamour and glitz of the Oscars.

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