British director Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” has won the prestigious audience award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
Featuring an A-list line-up including Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt, the film tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
“Americans weren’t ready to look at their recent past and it’s understandable,” said director Steve McQueen at the Toronto premiere. “It takes a while for you to grapple with that. And I think with having a black president, with the unfortunate recent events of Trayvon Martin and the two aniversaries, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery and civil rights march, people want to take a look at their recent past.”
The Toronto award confirms the movie’s status as one of the year’s leading Oscar contenders. If recent years are anything to go by, it looks like Academy members are increasingly following Toronto’s lead, with Oscar winners including “The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire” both Toronto laureates.
“12 Years A Slave” is on release now in North America and will be out in Europe early next year.