The evening of 2nd March witnessed raining Oscars for 12 Years a Slave, a historic biopic. This harrowing memoir of a token of history positioned itself as the Best Picture at the 2014 Oscars. From the award for Best Motion Picture to Best Director and Actress, the movie received Oscars in the major domains of cinematic recognition. The film received critical acclaim following its release in 2013, and had topped the charts of many a media outlets.
12 years a Slave stimulated millions to a contemplative state and it can be summed up as if equalled in magnitude the content of “The Empire Writes Back.” To be precise, 12 years a Slave is directed by Steve McQueen, a black film maker who is the mouthpiece of the subaltern voice in the 21st Century, the Post Colonial Age. It is striking to note that the black races, that had once been tagged as the “others” by the Eurocentric “us” and were in shackles of slavery, are finally earning their due recognition.
12 years a Slave at once sets in motion or rather whirlpool, the conspicuous journey of Afro-American Cinema, and the global acknowledgement of the same.
Steve: The Black Captain of the Slave Ship
Steve captures the drudgery of the life of a “Slave” and churns out the empathetic journey of a man, Solomon Northup, who had been abducted and sold into slavery and his successive struggle for existence amidst the wilderness. The director with amicable dexterity duly touches upon the pre-civil war times. It is the first ever movie to be nominated as the best film by a black director in the Oscars’ long drawn journey of 86 years. Directed by Steve McQueen, the film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Crew of the Slave Ship
Nyong’o who annihilated the reel and real by her searing image of a brutalized slave onscreen, was teary-eyed and elated by the unanimous standing ovation that she received as a token of honour from the assembled luminaries and dignitaries. Paying an expressive homage that turned out to be poignant she clarified, – “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.”
— Black History 365 (@NeferFej) March 27, 2014
Award winning Screenwriter John Ridley is the weaver of the plot of the film. The author of seven novels and three graphic novels, his popular works include Oliver Stone‘s U-turn, David O. Russell’s Three Kings and the George Lucas-produced Red Tails.
Summoning life as the humanitarian Canvas and ethos like pain, suffering, and pathos as the brush Steve has painted a real life portrait. Images trapped in celluloid speak for this movie as well as of the locale dear to us all: homelands; be it physical, geographical, or humanitarian!
By Adrita Dey Ghatak