Now that the Summer season of big-budgeted, popcorn films is over, we enter into the end-of-the-year releases that are more award-caliber in nature. In other words, my favorite time of year at the movies! For films that could potentially get on the radar of Oscar voters, I will discuss them in my newly created “Oscar Watch Trailer” section, a spinoff of my “Five-star Trailers” postings.
And first up on “Oscar Watch” is director Steve McQueen’s pre-Civil War drama 12 Years a Slave. From all the early buzz I’m hearing about the film, this will be the movie that will put the spotlight of arrival on actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. In the based-on-a-true-story 12 Years, Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery. Known mostly for supporting roles in films such as Children of Men, American Gangster and Inside Man, the positive buzz surrounding Ejiofor’s lead performance has been absolutely deafening. And if the positive reviews keep rolling in, Ejiofor could very well be the frontrunner for the Oscar—with a potential showdown with Matthew McConaughey for his performance in the drama Dallas Buyers Club.
Also garnering attention is a supporting turn by Michael Fassbender as a ruthless slave owner. If Fassbender grabs an Oscar nomination, it’ll be a nice “makeup nod” after the Academy snubbed his excellent lead performance in McQueen’s Shame two years ago. The film itself is even being compared to Schindler’s List—which suggests a heart-wrenching, emotionally difficult and yet extremely important story captured on screen. Director McQueen could also be a strong candidate for a Best Director nod for bringing this searing true story to life on film.
The trailer for the film makes it very clear that this will be a brutal and unforgettable film, and it is now placed on the top of my Fall movie season must-see list! And after hearing that the film received a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival, all signs to me are pointing to a film that could be one of the very best of 2013.
12 Years a Slave is Rated R and is slated for release in the U.S. on October 18.
About 12 Years a Slave:
In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery in this based-on-a-true-story drama.