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Go ahead and be the guy who stands up against 12 Years A Slave. Go be that Armond White, see what happens. The film has its critics, but they tend to be drowned out by the overwhelming amount of praise for the film, which is largely now seen as canon. The picture has received a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a sterling 97-rating on Metacritic, and nine Academy Award nominations. Add to that the $109 million in global receipts, and clearly the film has reached, and touched, a considerable amount of people, enough to show a fairly powerful legion of supporters. This isn’t just some fly-by-night favorite, but clearly a movie that inspires passion.
Not a huge surprise then that Steve McQueen’s slavery jeremiad would also take home the top prize at the BAFTA Awards. The film also took top acting honors for Chiwetel Ejiofor, earning the spotlight on a night where Gravity was the night’s big prizewinner with six awards. McQueen took to the stage and reminded the audience that his movie didn’t exist in a bubble, stating that there were, "21 million people in slavery now as we sit here. I just hope there will not be another 120 years of ambivalence that allows another filmmaker to make a film like this."
12 Years A Slave has come very close to running the table, awards-wise. The film already took home Best Picture honors from (deep breath) the Golden Globes, the Austin Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the London Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the New York Film Critics Online, the Online Film Critics Society, the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, the San Diego Film Critics Society, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the Vancouver Film Critics Circle and the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Geez, what have YOU done today?
The Oscar ballots are due February 25th, and Slave certainly stands a chance of taking home the top prize. Then again, the six BAFTA’s won by Gravity included Outstanding British Film (which filmed in Shepperton Studios) and Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron. And there’s also the matter of American Hustle, which took home the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy and has not only boasted its own great success during awards season, but has handily out-grossed Slave by surpassing $200 million worldwide. Which, again, is topped by Best Picture nominee Wolf Of Wall Street grossing over $300 million globally and inspiring its own groundswell of support. Oscar handicappers should be pretty excited, as it looks like this is going to be a horse race until the very end.