Anyone following the Oscar race can agree that 12 Years A Slave is one of the best movies to come out in 2013, but can it win the Best Picture award from the Academy?
Reading different prediction from experts, there are not too many who choose the Steve McQueen heartbreaking saga, based on a true story, to take the top prize this coming Sunday, when Hollywood luminaries assemble to award the best of the best.
While the performances are undoubtedly top notch and it has been classified as the best film of 2013 by countless movie critics, 12 Years A Slave has one thing going against it, the graphic nature of the story, which in some instances has proven to be a turn off for voting members.
The movie website Rotten Tomatoes says it best:
“It’s far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave’s unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant — and quite possibly essential — cinema.”
This is exactly what may play a hand in the slavery saga not winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
12 Years A Slave is the story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) a free New York State citizen who is kidnapped and taken to a plantation in New Orleans in the 1800s.
Steve McQueen directs from the script he co-wrote with John Ridley, which is based in part on the 1853 memoir of the same name by Northup.
Unforgettable performances by Ejiofor — who won the Golden Globe –, Michael Fassbender as the ruthless plantation owner who makes his life a living hell, and Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, and Paul Giamatti.
The mix of emotions 12 Years A Slave elicits from moviegoers and critics alike — similar to what The Passion Of The Christ did to Christians — can be summed up in what Golden Globe co-host Amy Poehler said during the January awards ceremony after mentioning how much she loved the film:
“I can honestly say after seeing that film, I will never look at slavery the same way again.”
In his analysis of the chances the epic film has of winning the Oscar, Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff Labrecque states:
“Some Academy voters confided that the early reviews — which highlighted the film’s searing violence and haunting imagery — had scared them off, and even though they recognized that 12 Years was an important film about an important and long-neglected subject, actually watching it wasn’t their idea of a good time for a Friday night.”
It wouldn’t be the first time the Academy Award goes to a film that is seen as too graphic as proven by Steven Spielberg’s 1993 movie, Schindler’s List, but the difference with 12 Years A Slave may be that the topic hits too close to home and still, after all these years, it shames Americans who cannot stomach what actually happened during the times when slavery was allowed.
To see if 12 Years A Slave wins the Oscar tune in the ceremony live on Sunday March 2 at 7 pm/ET on ABC.
[Images courtesy of Summit Entertainment]