"12 years a slave" crowned best film at Britain's top movie awards

LONDON (Reuters) - The harrowing drama "12 Years a Slave" won the award for best film at Britain's leading film honors on Sunday, cementing its status as a favorite for the Oscars next month.

The brutal depiction of American slavery in pre-Civil War times by British director Steve McQueen was based on the true life story of Solomon Northup, a free man tricked and sold into slavery in Louisiana's plantations.

"There are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here. I hope that, 150 years from now, our ambivalence will not allow another filmmaker to make this film," McQueen, 44, told the award ceremony at London's Royal Opera House.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Kevin Liffey)