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‘Argo’ wins best film Bafta

American actors George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Ben Affleck pose with the award for Best Film, for "Argo," backstage at the BAFTA Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in London. The film was produced by Clooney and Heslov and was directed by Affleck.  Allfleck also starred in the film. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)

American actors George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Ben Affleck pose with the award for Best Film, for "Argo," backstage at the BAFTA Film Awards at the Royal Opera House on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in London. The film was produced by Clooney and Heslov and was directed by Affleck. Allfleck also starred in the film. (Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP)

A rgo, about a group of U.S. hostages’ escape from post-revolutionary Iran, won the prize for best movie at this year’s British Academy Film Awards, or Baftas, the British equivalent of the Oscars.

The four runners-up were Les Miserables, an adaptation of the hit stage musical; Life of Pi, the story of a man stuck on a lifeboat with a tiger; Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s saga about the 16th president’s abolition of slavery; and Zero Dark Thirty, on the hunt for and killing of Osama bin Laden.

Daniel Day-Lewis clinched the best-actor trophy for his portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s 150-minute saga Lincoln. Emmanuelle Riva took home the best leading actress award for Amour.

Started in 1947 and honoring films produced worldwide and shown in British cinemas, the Baftas are now held before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards, or Oscars, and get more attention as a gauge of the year’s standout titles.

The Oscars will be presented in Los Angeles on Feb. 24.

The best-director award went to Ben Affleck for Argo. Also nominated were Michael Haneke for Amour, Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained, Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty.

The new James Bond movie, Skyfall, won the first award of the evening, for outstanding British film.

It also took the prize for best original music. Anna Karenina won the costume design award and Tarantino’s western Django Unchained took the best original screenplay prize.

Christoph Waltz was best supporting actor for his part in Django and Anne Hathaway was best supporting actress for her role in Les Miserables, a movie that also won for best production design.

Silver Linings Playbook was best adapted screenplay.

Amour was best foreign-language film and Searching for Sugar Man best documentary.

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