While there is no clear front-runner for Best Picture, it’s safe to say that 12 Years a Slave is certainly in the mix. In fact, many people have the film in the front of the pack, but that’s just a matter of opinion… or is it?
Out of the three favorites (12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle), it seems like everyone is pointing at 12 Years a Slave as the movie that SHOULD win. It’s an important film that tackles issues in such a brutally honest way, you simply cannot ignore it. It’s a powerhouse of emotion, packed with great performances and incredible direction.
It will make history if it wins at The Academy Awards. 12 Years a Slave will be the first film, directed, written by, and starring black filmmakers and actors to win. McQueen already become the first black producer to win the Producers Guild, while John Ridley is the first black screenwriter to win the Scripter.
12 Years a Slave has already won the Producers Guild’s top honors, Best Picture at the BAFTAs, Best Drama Film at the Golden Globes, the USC Scripter for Best Adapted Screenplay, plus about a dozen critic group awards. It seems to be reaching out to critics and voting committee members.
In 85 years, there have only been 23 times the Best Picture winner didn’t match up with the Best Director winner. That’s just 27%, and a reason why many are skeptical to pick 12 Years a Slave for Best Picture (since is seems like Alfonso Cuaron is a lock for Best Director). But the memory of a Best Picture/Director split is still fresh in our minds from last year when Argo won for Best Picture while Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated. But that’s the first time in seven years a split has happened. The last time a split happened to a director that was nominated was in 2006 when Ang Lee won for Brokeback Mountain, but Crash pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history by winning Best Picture.
While no one will consider it an upset if 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture, it still has plenty of obstacles to climb. Is The Academy willing to award such a monumental award to 12 Years a Slave? Has enough members even seen the film to rank it high on their ballots? But sometimes, The Academy does like making history. Just think about 2009 when The Hurt Locker and Kathryn Bigelow took down Goliath that was Avatar. A hard-hitting war movie making history for being the first female director to win Best Director, beating out the 3-D monster Avatar that grossed over $700 million. Does it sound familiar?
Can 12 Years a Slave make history against the 3-D heavy Gravity that has grossed almost $300 million, good enough for sixth best of 2013? Can Steve McQueen upset for Best Director? It’s nominated for 9 awards, second-most only to its competitors American Hustle and Gravity, but 12 Years a Slave is lined up for a special night come March 2.
Hey, it can happen.