ENTERTAINMENT

'Gravity,' Alfonso Cuarón Build Award Season Momentum, Receive BAFTA, Directors Guild Nominations

  • SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Alfonso Cuaron attends 'Gravity' photocall at Kursaal during 61st San Sebastian Film Festival on September 23, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)

    SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23: Alfonso Cuaron attends 'Gravity' photocall at Kursaal during 61st San Sebastian Film Festival on September 23, 2013 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

  • GRAVITY

     (© 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. )

The nominations continue to roll in for Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón and his space thriller “Gravity.”

The film gained awards-season momentum with stacks of nominations for the British Academy Film Awards – the U.K.’s equivalent to the Oscars – along with the director’s first ever Directors Guild of America (DGA) nomination.

Cuarón’s film, which stars Sandra Bullock, led the BAFTA nominations with 11, including best picture, best director, lead actress, cinematography and special effects.

The unflinching historical saga “12 Years a Slave,” by director Steve McQueen, received 10 nominations, including nods for star Chiwetel Ejiofor, and supporting performers Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender.

“I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film is getting around the world,” said British actor Ejiofor, who plays a free black man kidnapped into slavery in the 19th-century United States. “There is, of course, something particularly special about receiving a BAFTA nomination from home.”

David O. Russell's "American Hustle" also was nominated in 10 categories, while Somali hijacking story "Captain Phillips" received nine nods.

Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" and "Saving Mr. Banks," which tells the story behind the film adaptation of "Mary Poppins," each got five nominations.

In recent years, the BAFTA awards have helped underdog films including "Slumdog Millionaire," ''The King's Speech," and "The Artist" build momentum for success at the Oscars.

Last year, the Iran hostage drama "Argo" took the award for best film, and went on to win the best picture Oscar.

The British prizes will be awarded at London's Royal Opera House on Feb. 16.

The nominations for the DGA awards included director Paul Greengrass for his Somali pirate thriller, “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks.

Martin Scorsese earned his 11th nomination for his tale of high-finance shenanigans, "The Wolf of Wall Street." Scorsese won a DGA award in 2006 for "The Departed" and again in 2010 for his work on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

McQueen was nominated for "12 Years a Slave," and if he wins, he would become the first black director to earn the DGA's feature film accolade.

"To be included in such an amazing group of filmmakers and also to be honored by my peers makes me feel very humble and proud," McQueen said in a statement.

Last month, McQueen was named best director by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film has been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild awards and seven Golden Globes.

The winner of the DGA award usually goes on to win the directing statuette at the Academy Awards. Nominations for the Oscars will be announced on Jan. 16.

The Golden Globes, which are being held on Sunday night, will offer a better indicator of which film will lead the best picture category at the Academy Awards on March 2.

The DGA winners will be announced at a dinner in Los Angeles on Jan. 25. Jane Lynch will host.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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