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Chiwetel Ejofor in 12 Years A Slave.Jaap Buitendijk/The Associated Press

The Vancouver Film Critics Circle has named 12 Years a Slave the best film of 2013. But Steve McQueen's harrowing account of a free man sold into slavery in 1841 in the southern U.S. (based on the memoir of Solomon Northup) was shut out of the directing, screenwriting and acting categories.

At an event in Vancouver Tuesday night, Gravity's Alfonso Cuarón was named best director, while Joel and Ethan Coen won best screenplay for Inside Llewyn Davis.

Oscar Isaac, who stars in the Coen brothers' film, won best actor for his portrayal of a fictional struggling folk musician in 1961 Greenwich Village. Cate Blanchett was named best actress for Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, in which she plays a fallen Park Avenue socialite. Supporting acting nods went to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club and Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle.

The Act of Killing, a deeply disturbing film about the Indonesian genocide of 1965, told from the perspective of the perpetrators, won for best documentary. The Danish drama The Hunt was named best foreign language film.

On the Canadian side, Matt Johnson's directorial debut The Dirties about two film geeks who plan a high school shooting, won best Canadian film, best first film (a new category for the VFCC), and best actor for Johnson.

In the best directing category, Jeff Barnaby beat out Johnson (and Gabrielle's Louise Archambault) for his debut feature Rhymes for Young Ghouls.

Sophie Desmarais was named best actress for Sarah Prefers to Run. Best supporting actor went to Alexandre Landry for Gabrielle and best supporting actress to Lise Roy for Tom at the Farm.

Chelsea McMullan's My Prairie Home, about musician Rae Spoon, was named best Canadian documentary, and Ben Ratner's Down River won best British Columbia film.

The 2014 Ian Caddell Award for Achievement went to Canadian animation pioneer Al Sens, the self-taught founder of Vancouver's first animation studio, Al Sens Animation, in 1958. A second achievement award went to Corinne Lea, owner of East Vancouver's Rio Theatre. Lea successfully fought for changes to the provincial liquor licensing rules to allow venues – like the Rio – that serve alcohol to also screen films.

And in a surprise award presented at The Railway Club Tuesday night, M. Night Shyamalan's sci-fi flop After Earth, was named Worst Film of the year.