Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron emerged as the big winner at the Bafta awards at the Royal Opera House here Sunday night, taking home six of the prizes, including the one for best director, for his gripping space film "Gravity," although "12 Years a Slave" won the coveted best picture trophy.

Competition at this 67th edition of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards - which each year are considered to be a bellwether for the Oscars, due to take place in two weeks in Hollywood - was very tight.

British director Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" took home two of the most important awards of the evening, the prizes for best film and best actor, the latter of which went to the film's star Chiwetel Ejiofor, who played a young African man sold into slavery in Louisiana.

Cuaron's 3D orbital odyssey had been nominated for the most awards - 11 - and garnered six for best director, sound, original score, special effects, photography and best British film.

In his acceptance speech, Cuaron said he considered himself part of the British film industry and dedicated his best director award to his son Jonas, who co-authored the film's script.

Also scoring multiple awards during the evening was David O. Russell's "American Hustle," which took three, including the one for best original screenplay.

"Philomena" - directed by Stephen Frears - and "Captain Phillips" by Paul Greengrass each made off with one award.

Cate Blanchett won the prize for best female actor for her role in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" and dedicated her award to late U.S. actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Jennifer Lawrence won the best supporting actor award for her role in "American Hustle,"

The only Spaniard on the list of nominees was Daniel Brühl, who played the role of Formula One drive Niki Lauda in "Rush," but failed in his bid for the best supporting actor prize, which went to Somali-U.S. actor Barkhad Abdi for his role as a Somali pirate in "Captain Phillips," by Britain's Paul Greengrass.

Britain's Prince William made a splash by being on hand to present the award honoring her career to veteran actress Helen Mirren, who played his "grandmother" Queen Elizabeth II in the film "The Queen." EFE