EDITOR’S NOTE: On Thursday, Jan. 16, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced nominations for the OSCARS, and 12 Years a Slave received nine nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.
Going into Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards, the film 12 Years a Slave had seven nominations. As the night wore on, though, it seemed the bio-drama about slavery in pre-civil war America was going to be shut out. However at the end of the night, it nabbed the most important win of them all—‘best drama.’ The ‘70s con-artist caper American Hustle landed three awards, including best film comedy. David O. Russell’s American Hustle also picked up acting awards for Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence.
But winning the Golden Globe for ‘best drama’ makes 12 Years a Slave a leading contender at the Academy Awards. The critically acclaimed effort is bound to rack up more nods when Oscar nominations are announced later this week. But according to the people who made the movie, awards aren’t the real win.
“Solomon Northup is a lost American hero,” said British director Steve McQueen of the man born free and later kidnapped and sold into slavery. “I’m so happy that we, as a group, as a community of filmmakers, got together to make this film, to hold him up and say, ‘Thank you.'”
“It’s so powerful to me,” said Chiwetel Ejiofor who played Northup. “This is a story that centers around the love that this man has for his family, and how the need to connect with them can get him through the most extraordinary circumstances.”
Lupita Nyong’o is Ejiofor’s co-star and was actually considered to be the front-runner for the ‘best actress’ award. However, the young actress has a very promising career ahead and plenty of time for awards. 12 Years a Slave marks her first time on the big screen.
“When I first read the script, I understood something in my gut about this character that I didn’t understand in my head, and that doesn’t happen very often,” she said.
Irish actor Michael Fassbender took on the role of ruthless slave owner Edwin Epps.
There was no sympathy to be had for Epps, but the actor still found a way to connect to him.
“I think as human beings, we’re all made of the same stuff,” he said. “So a character that does such despicable acts, like Epps—I think people are very quick to go, ‘You know, that person’s evil. It’s like a monster,’ because they’re afraid maybe there’s elements of him inside themselves.”
12 Years a Slave has been nominated for a total of 130 various awards so far, including four Screen Actors Guild Awards and 11 British Academy Film Awards, and has won 97 honors.