October 24, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
The first awards of the Oscar season has kicked things off today with the 23rd annual Gotham Independent Film Awards announcing its nominees today. With the focus on US-based independent films (even more so than the aptly named Independent Spirit Awards), the nominees are unsurprisingly filled with some of our favorite up and comers and breakout stars of the year.
“12 Years a Slave,” set to be an Oscar juggernaut, led the way here with three nominations, for Best Feature, Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Best Breakthrough Actor (Lupita Nyong’o). Also nominated for Best Feature are festival favorites “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “Before Midnight,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Upstream Color.”
The Best Actress category is especially packed with younger actors this year, with Brie Larson of “Short Term 12″ and Shailene Woodley of “The Spectacular Now” getting well deserved recognition for their leading roles, while Scarlett Johansson is a surprise nominee for her role in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut “Don Jon.” Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine,” the Oscar frontrunner and Amy Seimetz for “Upstream Color” round out the category.
The most relevant category for us has always been Best Breakthrough and this year features another strong lineup in addition to Nyongo’s heartbreaking work in “12 Years.” Dane DeHaan is recognized for his searing turn in “Kill Your Darlings” while Michael B. Jordan gets a nod for his breakthrough role in “Fruitvale Station.” Kathryn Hahn is nominated for “Afternoon Delight” while Robin Weigert is also in for “Concussion.”
The awards will be handed out at a gala event on December 2nd and the full list of nominees can be seen below.
October 18, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
in Reviews, Television
“12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor takes on more history and race relations in Starz miniseries “Dancing on the Edge,” this time tackling black jazz musicians in 1930s Britain. It’s a beautifully shot but not altogether cinematic, deliberately paced take that is as glossy as “12 Years” is gritty. Unfortunately, it’s to the series’ disadvantage, with the premiere episode afraid to scratch much deeper to the hinted-at underbelly of its stylish surface.
October 16, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
There are no two ways about it, Steve McQueen’s unrelenting, unflinching and brutal “12 Years a Slave” is a modern masterpiece of filmmaking and the most visceral examination of slavery you are likely to ever experience. Anchored by an Oscar-worthy performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, the journey of Solomon Northup into slavery and then back out again is not in the slightest easy to sit through, but is the sort of must-see film experience that comes along very rarely.
October 10, 2013 | Posted by Alfonso Espina
Fox Searchlight has released two new clips of “12 Years a Slave”. Steve McQueen‘s acclaimed drama stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Soloman Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, who is abducted and sold into slavery. Through his twelve years as a slave, he serves various owners, including the ruthless Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Sarah Paulson).
In the first clip, Paulson’s character summons Northup to fetch a list of orders, to which he accepts with obedience. But before he heads out to do her errands, she questions him about his background. Throughout their brief conversation, she remains cold and stern. “You’re here to work, that’s all… Any more will earn you a hundred lashes.” The second clip shows an emotional Northup being advised by his fellow slaves on how to stay out of trouble. But unlike his companions, Northup has no intention of remaining submissive. “I don’t want to survive. I want to live,” he tells them.
“12 Years a Slave” is scheduled for a limited release on October 18, followed by a wide release on November 1st. Check out the new clips (one courtesy of HitFlix) below!
October 3, 2013 | Posted by Alfonso Espina
Fox Searchlight has released the first TV spot for Steve McQueen‘s forthcoming pre-Civil War drama “12 Years a Slave.” The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano and Alfre Woodard.
“12 Years a Slave” tells the true of story of Soloman Northup (Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, who is abducted and sold into slavery, first serving a man named William Ford (Cumberbatch). His third slave owner, Edwin Epps (Fassbender), is the most malicious one yet. Along with Epps’ wife (Paulson), they run an abusive plantation that uses the Bible to excuse their immoral behaviour. In his twelfth year as a slave, Northup makes a life-changing encounter with a Canadian abolitionist named Bass (Pitt), giving him hope in his enduring battle for freedom.
September 27, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
in Images, Videos
Chiwetel Ejiofor is seen in happier times in the first clip released today via Vulture from Oscar favorite “12 Years a Slave.” Based upon Solomon Northup’s own memoir of the same name, the Steve McQueen film follows the free-born man as he’s kidnapped and sold back into slavery and the long, long road he endures to get back to his old life.
As we can see in this first clip, Northup is living a comfortable and happy life as a free man, stopping in a store to buy his wife a new bag for her travels. A tense moment interrupts the idyllic portrait, and as we well know, things go downhill for Northup after this early scene. In addtion to Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender is said to give a standout performance as a brutal slave owner, as does Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o, who plays Patsey, a particularly skilled cotton picker.
In addition to Fassbender, Ejiofor and Nyong’o, also pictured in new stills below are Paul Dano and Benedict Cumberbatch (head to The Playlist for even more). The cast also includes Michael K. Williams, Ruth Negga, Scoot McNairy, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti and Brad Pitt. “12 Years a Slave” opens on October 18th.
September 15, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
in Awards, Film Festivals
And we’re off! The first really major indicator of this year’s Oscar race has just been unveiled, with Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” winning the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award.
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the titular “slave”, Solomon Northrup, a free-born son of a farmer who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Michael Fassbender, in his third collaboration with McQueen following “Hunger” and the criminally underrated “Shame,” turns villainous here as an abusive slave owner, while Brad Pitt plays Solomon’s family’s lawyer, who seek to free him after receiving word of his capture. The film is based on Northrup’s autobiography of the same name, and the rest of the all-star cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye, Ruth Negga, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Quvenzhane Wallis, Lupita Nyong’o, Scoot McNairy and Michael K Williams.
The film has been unanimously praised by critics, with Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong’o the standouts among the actors singled out for their performances. The film is now a firm frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar and is in good company with past BP winners like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The King’s Speech” and nominees like “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Precious.”
July 15, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
Steve McQueen’s got a new movie coming out, and it looks just as riveting and powerful as his previous efforts, “Hunger” and “Shame.” Today, the first trailer for “12 Years a Slave”, which features the third collaboration between McQueen and Michael Fassbender, has been released, and it’s clearly going to be a major player during this year’s Oscar season.
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the titular “slave”, Solomon Northrup, a free-born son of a farmer who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Fassbender turns villainous here as an abusive slave owner, while Brad Pitt plays Solomon’s family’s lawyer, who seek to free him after receiving word of his capture. The film is based on Northrup’s autobiography of the same name, and the rest of the all-star cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye, Ruth Negga, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Quvenzhane Wallis, Lupita Nyongo, Scoot McNairy and Michael K Williams.
“12 Years a Slave’ will be released on October 18th, moved up two months from an initial December release after “exuberant test screenings.”
May 15, 2013 | Posted by Linda Ge
Chris Pine, Amanda Seyfried, and Chiwetel Ejiofor have signed on to star in the adaptation of sci-fi young adult novel “Z for Zachariah”, according to Deadline.
Craig Zobel directs the film following 16 year old Ann (Seyfried) who thinks she’s the last person on earth after a nuclear holocaust, living on a farm in the only valley with breathable oxygen left in the region. Her world is turned upside down when a campfire alerts her to the presence of two men who have also seemingly survived. An August start on the adaptation of the Robert O’Brien novel is scheduled.
Pine opens in sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness” tomorrow, reprising his role as Cpatain Kirk, and also has Kenneth Branagh’s “Jack Ryan” reboot in the can awaiting release. He just landed his first musical, as one of the Princes in Rob Marshall’s twisted fairy tale “Into the Woods.” Seyfried is also musically inclined, most recently seen as Cosette in Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables.” She’s currently filming Seth MacFarlane’s “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”
May 22, 2012 | Posted by Linda Ge
Rising stars Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy and Ruth Negga have joined Steve McQueen’s “Shame” follow-up, “Twelve Years a Slave”, according to Variety and Deadline. The three actors join Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and “Pariah” breakout star Odepero Aduye in the cast.
The film is based on the memoirs of Soloman Northup, to be played by Ejiofor, a free-born son of a former slave who is lured to Washington DC where he was illegally sold into slavery (with McNairy in the role of a circus worker who masterminds his abduction) and shipped to work on a plantation in New Orleans. When Northup is finally able to get a letter to his wife and family, they seek legal counsel to help free him. Dano and Fassbender will play plantation owners and Pitt will be the family’s lawyer. Negga will play a runaway slave, while Oduye is rumored to play Northup’s wife. Filming will begin at the end of June.
Indie scene staple Dano recently showed up on shortlists for big tentpole projects including “Akira” and “Die Hard 5″, but will next be seen sticking closer to his comfort zone in quirky rom com “Ruby Sparks”, from the directors of “Little Miss Sunshine.” He broke out in low budget horror “Monsters”, and now McNairy reteams with Pitt on “Twelve Years” after starring opposite one another at the current Cannes title “Killing Them Softly.” Irish actress Negga can currently be seen opposite Samuel L. Jackson in “The Samaritan.”