Directed By: Steve McQueen
Written By: Steve McQueen and John Ridley
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhané Wallis, Scoot McNairy, Garrett Dillahunt, Sarah Paulson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Taran Killiam, Dwight Henry, Adepero Oduye, Bryan Batt, Alfre Woodard
Synopsis: 12 Years a Slave is based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped in Washington D.C in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release.
Why It Could Succeed: Steve McQueen is a great filmmaker and is currently batting 2-2 in terms of his film output. Though he’s tackled some tough subject matter in the past, his films always leave an impression on the viewer both thematically and visually. There’s never a moment in his films where you feel that he’s going to far because he takes great care to only use what will be in service of the story. Taking on serious subject matter seriously is welcomed in a world where we get watered down versions of history. The Academy likes to reward ambition and taking on a much less discussed aspect of slavery, the illegal enslavement of freed African Americans, is something that should earn him a lot of admirers. The biggest plus outside of sheer thematic weight is the amazing cast. McQueen is like a savant when it comes to pulling intense, richly layered performances from actors and he’s got some great ones lined up. Many people already have Ejiofor and Fassbender penciled in as early contenders, and that kind of attention can only help a film like this.
Tags: Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodard, Awards Profile, benedict cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Bryan Batt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dwight Henry, Garrett Dillahunt, John Ridley, Michael Fassbender, Oscar hopeful, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Quvenzhané Wallis, Sarah Paulson, Scoot McNairy, Steve McQueen, Taran Killiam, Twelve Years A Slave