12 Years a Slave (film)

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 biographical drama film directed by Steve McQueen from a screenplay by John Ridley, based on the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, an African-American who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery. He was put to work on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before being released. The first scholarly edition of Wilson's version of Northup's story was co-edited in 1968 by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon.[4]

12 Years a Slave
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve McQueen
Screenplay byJohn Ridley
Based onTwelve Years a Slave
by Solomon Northup
Produced by
CinematographySean Bobbitt
Edited byJoe Walker
Music byHans Zimmer
Distributed by
Release dates
  • August 30, 2013 (2013-08-30) (Telluride Film Festival)
  • November 8, 2013 (2013-11-08) (United States)
  • January 10, 2014 (2014-01-10) (United Kingdom)
Running time
134 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
Budget$20–22 million[2][3]
Box office$187.7 million[2]

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup. Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong'o, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Alfre Woodard feature in supporting roles. Principal photography took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, from June 27 to August 13, 2012. The locations used were four historic antebellum plantations: Felicity, Bocage, Destrehan, and Magnolia. Of the four, Magnolia is nearest to the actual plantation where Northup was held.

12 Years a Slave received widespread critical acclaim and was named the best film of 2013 by several media outlets and critics, and it earned over $187 million on a production budget of $22 million. The film received nine Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay for Ridley, and Best Supporting Actress for Nyong'o. The Best Picture win made McQueen the first black British producer to ever receive the award and the first black British director of a Best Picture winner.[5][6] The film was awarded the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts recognized it with the BAFTA Awards for Best Film and Best Actor for Ejiofor.[7] The film was later named the 44th greatest film since 2000 in a BBC poll of 177 critics in 2016.[8]

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