Are Michael Fassbender & Chiwetel Ejiofor guaranteed Oscar noms this year?

Over the weekend, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and director Steve McQueen were in Telluride to premiere 12 Years a Slave at the film festival. I thought Toronto would be the first film festival for the film, but I guess not. We don’t have any formal photos from the Q&A session (you can see some here), but I did grab some Twitter photos. Apparently, the screening went over really well. And by that I mean that everybody cried and all of the critics are saying that everybody involved with the film will be an awards contender. Here’s THR’s Scott Fienberg’s thoughts:

12 Years a Slave, a drama based on the remarkable true story of a free black man from the north who was deceived and sold into slavery in the south in mid-19th century America, had its world premiere Friday evening here at the Galaxy Theatre. The film was greeted with thunderous applause when its end credits began to roll; moments later, the audience offered a standing ovation as its director, Steve McQueen, and principal stars — the British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, McQueen regular Michael Fassbender, Kenyan newcomer Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt, who is also a producer of the film — were introduced for a brief Q&A. The film, which will next screen at the Toronto Film Festival, will be released by Fox Searchlight on Oct. 18.

Word leaked early in the fest that 12 Years would be a “TBA screening,’ and the attendant excitement drew a full house that included Ralph Fiennes, Ken Burns, Michael Moore, J.C. Chandor and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the recently-elected, first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. By the time the theater emptied out, few hadn’t shed a tear in response to the emotional rollercoaster on which they had just journeyed.

McQueen’s previous two films — Hunger (2008), which is about a hunger striker, and Shame (2011), which is about a sex addict — both also debuted at Telluride. And like them, Twelve Years is an extremely dark and disturbing work that will almost certainly resonate more with critics than the general public. But unlike those earlier two films, which received a grand total of zero Oscar nominations, this one, because of its larger historical canvas and the magnificent performances from its giant ensemble cast, will almost certainly resonate more with the Academy.

Indeed, I believe that it will strongly contend for noms in the categories of best picture, best director (McQueen, for biting off more than ever before and capably chewing it), best actor (Ejiofor, for his total commitment in every scene of the film), best supporting actor (Fassbender, for playing a brutal Southern slave owner), best supporting actress (N’yongo, for portraying a slave who endures heartbreaking brutality), best adapted screenplay (for John Ridley’s take on Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography of the same title) and best original score (Hans Zimmer).

The film — which also features fine work by Sarah Paulson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt, Adepero Oduye and Beasts of the Southern Wild stars Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry — is one of several 2013 awards contenders that tackle the subject of race in America, along with Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and 42. A year after similar subject matter was presented with humor in the best picture-nominated Django Unchained, it is being treated with the utmost realism and seriousness in these films. And, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, with a black president in the White House but racial tensions amongst the general population still high, that seems right.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

The producers (including Pitt) also announced that the film would be shown at the NY Film Festival on October 8th, and it will be released in America on October 12th. I wonder if that’s the wide release date or the limited release date? I think this film is “big” enough to get a wide release date, don’t you? And if it’s being released wide in October, that’s a lot of time for an Oscar campaign. But it could be interesting. Argo was released in September of last year, right? And it went on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

As for Fassbender’s Oscar chances in particular… the Academy has a history of overlooking “controversial” performances (like Fassbender’s Shame performance) and then making up for it the next time they have a chance to nominate someone. So, yeah, I think Fassy’s definitely getting nominated this year (Best Supporting), but whether he’ll win? I dunno.

So… no Cumberbatch at Telluride either. But I bet he’s at the Toronto premiere and the NY Film Festival premiere. Which means that at some point, we’ll get photos of Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch standing next to each other. OMG. The internet will explode.

Photos courtesy of Twitter, WENN.

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64 Responses to “Are Michael Fassbender & Chiwetel Ejiofor guaranteed Oscar noms this year?”

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  1. Paris says:

    This movie looks really good and the buzz around it has been positive. Maybe they will be nominated. You never know with the academy.

  2. Sixer says:

    I so want this to be Chiwetel’s. That is all.

  3. Maria says:

    McQueen deserves it, the man is truly gifted in the art of of storytelling.

    Fassy is beyond talented.
    Chiwetel is greatness.

    I’m also looking really forward to Lupita too.

    • NM9005 says:

      The Academy doesn’t care. They always pick cheesy dramatic plots (Crash) over controversy (Brokeback Mountain).

      They always give some sort of ‘Lifetime’ awards to directors or actors after ignoring them their whole career (Hitchcock, Scorsese).

      Or they nominate/give the Oscar to a less than deserving role after years of great roles (see Johnny Depp first nom for Pirates!).

      The Academy is nuts. Most awarding bodies are nothing than hot air, especially in a corrupt business like Hollywood. Bette Davis was the first woman to be president of the Academy Awards and she resigned because it was just for publicity. They don’t care about change, never did. They have a track record of such events.

      Even if 12 Years gets nominated and wins, it sure as hell isn’t going to change the discrimination in Hollywood. A bunch of old white men awarding an Oscar to a slave film and people think it means something. Oy vey.

      • Maria says:

        I don’t disagree with you.

        It’s a pity too, part of why I adore McQueen is because he doesn’t bite his tongue and will call bullshit when it’s there.

        I’m hoping for some sort of shakeup this go around, too much of the same year after year.

      • NM9005 says:

        Yes. I just wish there were more McQueens and less Bays and all that other generic crap :) Then the Academy would be forced to look at films in a different way. They have to much choice to phone it in now.

      • fingerbinger says:

        You don’t want the academy to look at back to slavery,but this movie is about slavery. You just said you want the movie and actors to be recognized for this movie. I do not have a problem with movies about slavery it’s a part of history that should never be forgotten.

      • NM9005 says:

        No I did not say that. I said we need more directors like McQueen and less directors who churn out generic cheesy films. McQueen (and a few others like PTA) can tackle a subject in a controversial, educated and humane way.

        I know the acting is going to be fine so they do deserve to be lauded for their performances but I also know it means jack shit to Hollywood and it’s sad that it’s often the same topic that is linked to POC, especially the actresses as I mentioned below. They can call those kinds of film outstanding and applaud the actors but what does it really mean when it doesn’t translate in Hollywood fully accepting them? When we have racist tweets about one of the few black characters in Hunger Games yet J-Law is some kind of acting goddess (while in reality, she’s just a basic blonde with OK acting skills who does nothing outstanding).

        This isn’t the first movie about slavery yet Hollywood never has come far in accepting POC as their equals despite the long road POC has come from. Many parts exclude POC and older women which isn’t realistic. George Clooney can muse about Hollywood being ‘ahead of its time’ but POC in film know better. Televion is way ahead to be honest.
        If looking back means we can look forward or see the present problems then fine, but that’s not happening. At all.

      • T.C. says:

        You don’t like Jennifer Lawrence because she’s a basic blonde? What does her looks and hair color have to do with her acting? I bet you haven’t even seen her movies but just judging her in some superficial racial way for being White and blonde. So what, that’s how God made her.

        Slavery is part of our history. There has only been a handful of movies about slavery but you are acting like there are 100s of films about the subject. Most movies nominated by the academy with White actors are not happy go lucky films. They are about sad, depressed, psychotic or dysfunctional characters. Many are historical films. It’s no different from films that Black actors are nominated for. They are characters in pain, forced to suffer, etc.

        You make no sense being mad that a film by a talented Black man with talented Black actors might get nominated just because it’s about slavery. You want them nominated for a Tyler Perry movie or a Rom Com?

      • NM9005 says:


        Yeah, I knew when I was typing it was wrong but the main thing with her Oscar win was that famous sex scene indeed.

        I just remembered the racist tone of the film and how hateful BBT’s character was (h so I went for it and called it ‘dating’ :) I believe their sex scene sprung from the mutual losses but heck, I don’t know the details anymore.

      • NM9005 says:

        LOL, nothing. That’s why I called her an OK actress. And I have seen some of her movies so don’t make assumptions. I was talking about how the leads of the HG where white despite the book’s descriptions and how people were racist during casting (‘but I read them as WHITE characters’) and when Rue died. And please, take a seat with your reverse racism.

        I really can’t with the rest of your comment because you missed my point. I clearly said I loved McQueen and I know the performances are going to be great, I was making a point about change but clearly, you don’t understand me so that’s fine. It happens and I’m not one to continue a pointless internet fight when people don’t understand each other so bye.

      • Side-Eye says:

        NM, I was already pretty iffy with your comment, but you completely lost me when you used the term ‘reverde racism’. Racism is racism, and was obvious Rue was black I’d always read Katniss as white. Especially considering her sister was describes as blonde with blue eyes as was her mother if I recall correctly.

    • Mindy says:

      Lupita!!! Rooting for that girl!

      I agree that given how white and male the academy is, it can feel very bitter sweet when people of color are recognised. And the types of movies for which they get that recognition is …………disturbing. If they arent dissecting race, helping America deal with its white guilt issues, then its like they dont exist.

      Having said that, talent is talent. Its despicable that you have to play a tragic but noble character whos race defines him entirely, in order to win. But I am still excited to see legitimate talent win out.

      • NM9005 says:

        Hattie McDaniel: Mammie (slave)
        Mo’Nique: horrible mom in ‘ghetto’ neighourhood
        Halle Berry: single mother dating a racist
        Then there were the Help nominations.

        At least (black) men get better roles but the nominations and wins are pretty bleak and stereotypical for POC.

        I just wish that instead of looking back to slavery, the Academy and Hollywood would actually look forward by creating roles that are there for every actor/actress.
        That Hally Berry didn’t have to fight for her role in Things We Lost in the Fire because it was written for a white person.
        That Katniss (and the other main roles) is a white lead role in the film despite her and Gayle’s olive complexion which can in the very least seem ethnically ambiguous in the book. Other black characters are perceived to be ‘read as white’ too. And poor Rue was dismissed as a person because she was black, so who cares if she dies.

        So forgive me but these slave films might serve a point but how far has Hollywood and the Academy and society as a whole really come when you look at their treatment of POC? Not far.

        Rant over.

      • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

        Just to correct you, in Monster’s Ball, Halle Berry wasn’t dating a racist–his father was racist, and after his father made some insulting remarks to her, he moved him into a home.

        I thought the controversy with Halle winning was the very explicit sex scene…

      • Ennie says:

        Rue died in the book, the origing of the film that is not “Hollywood”, and if you have read the books, you know the importance of her death and how Katniss teated her, which hopefully will be well portrayed in the next moie.

      • NM9005 says:


        I know, I know. I was talking about people (too many people) treated her death like it was meaningless because of her skin colour. It was a big deal on the internet if you can remember. Twitter exploded, many debates on how the leads (2) had olive skin too in the book which could have gone either way in the casting but hey there’s J-Law and Hemsworth, white people in the leads. I guess they made a ‘good choice’ for the public by casting a white people in the leads. If they made such a big deal about a little black child, imagine if Katniss would’ve been non-white.

  4. lisa2 says:

    The Academy has picked the wrong film for years. YEARS

    I hope the film gets recognized. But I hope audiences will go to see it. I think it is a tough film to watch but worth it.

    the film will be in limited release according to some reports so we will have to wait and see.

  5. Allons-y Alonso says:

    I cannot wait to see this film

  6. Harriet says:

    I really hope this movie gets recognised- I have to say, in recent years I have been dissapointed by the academy. I was totally naive about how corrupt it was until I realised all the backstage antics and lobbying by the likes of the Weinsteins!

  7. Amelia says:

    I sincerely hope so. I know you can’t judge a book by it’s cover (or a film by it’s trailer) but I really like the look of Twelve Years.
    Blimey, it’s already September. Awards season is only a few months away. Seems like we were laughing at AnnE’s ridiculous Oscar campaign only yesterday . . .
    Ah, memories.

  8. Zane says:

    I have a feeling they will be over looked! I hope I’m wrong. Forgive me for being negative. It’s just the academy has had me questioning them for years on their decisions.

  9. Norman Bates' Mother says:

    I would be so happy for Chiwetel if that turned to be true. He is an amazing actor but has been criminally underrated so far. Fassbender’s talent hasn’t been recognized by the various academies yet, but at least he is very popular among the audiences while Ejiofor seems to be still overlooked by both and he was so great in every movie I’ve seen him in – even those with awful scripts like 2012.

  10. LL says:

    I hope this movie get recognized like many already saying. For me a black person, I’m so glad that there are so many movies that involve around black people such as this movie, Fruitvale, The Butler, possibly the Nelson Mandela biopic and many others that may come out in 2013. Maybe with these movies this year this will help getting more movies about not just blacks but other minorities made as well.

  11. Jennifer12 says:

    I hope so, but I have very little faith in the Oscars.

    • QQ says:

      THIS and like ive said before It’d be super cool if This Fruitvale Station and The Butler were up But I HIGHLY doubt Oscar voters and the studios would bother to mount solid campaigns for these guys

      • chloe says:

        I don’t think the Academy could handle three movies that central characters are black to dominate the awards season, I find it sad to say this, but I’m guessing Fruitvale Station will be completely ignored, it will be between the Butler and 12 Years to be picked as the main film that get’s all of the press. The Butler has Oprah and Forrest behind it, but with Pitt being one of the producers of 12 Years that might push it to the forefront. It’s a shame that they just can’t promote the best movies and and actors without worrying about demographics.

      • Elodie says:

        … and just like that, Uncle Harvey W. will swoop in and have Elba outta nowhere get all the nods and the Butler, TYAS and FS will have the leftovers … *sigh*

  12. Miss M says:

    I find it interesting that it will be at NYFF because, so far, it has not appeared in the schedule as an official selection. I also doubt it will be shown as a main attraction on Oct 8th since the main movie that night is “Nebraska” by Alexander Payne. But What do I know?!

  13. chloe says:

    I cannot wait to see this movie, it looks like a tearjerker.

  14. CaribbeanLaura says:

    Lupita Nyong’o is gorge!!!! Gah I think I wanna cut my hair. Can’t wait for this movie, I know it’ll be hard to watch but I’m very excited.

  15. MegG says:

    McQueen is talented, but will he miss out because he’s arthouse? Brad Pitt is looking like David Spade these days

    • Kim1 says:

      Well Brad will start Fury soon so he will be cutting his hair, thank God.Oh and he has a new tattoo A MPZSVK repping his fam

      • lisa2 says:

        OH please Brad looks great. That whole David Spade thing is old.

        I saw all of them on the panel. Brad is 14+ years older than them and he looked the same age.

        anyway I’m going to be seeing this the day it opens near me.

        It is easy to talk about films like this not getting attention. but if you as a consumer don’t support them then no they don’t succeed and we get crap at the theaters for years to come.

        Go see the film. That is how you make a difference.

  16. sara says:

    There was a pic of Gassy and Ralph Fiennes talking at Telluride. I can’t tell you the feelings it stirred in me. I think my internet exploded for that one!

  17. giho says:

    I don’t think they will be nominated. But that’s just me.

  18. Maya says:

    I sincerely hope this movie wins all of the awards next year. PS: I cannot wait for Brad to cut his hair – he looks good now but he is Greek Godlike with short hair;)

  19. Amberly says:

    I really don’t know. This year is very crowded and competitive. I think there are going to be lot of major snubs for all four acting categories. Right now i am not predicting Fassbender and he’s nowhere near my top five for Supporting Actor. Undecided about Chiwetel Ejifor at the moment.

    • ctkat1 says:

      I actually agree with this- looking at the predictions from Ropes of Silicon, and remembering that most of these films have only released a trailer, it still seems like a crazy competitive year in all of the major acting categories. With only 5 nominations, some very talented people and very strong performances are going to be left out.

  20. Jellyfish says:

    Nooo fassy was so close to me and I missed it!! I have got to go to that film festival in Telluride next year.

  21. Side-Eye says:

    I need to keep reminding myself to watch Hunger. I’ve seen Shame which us a little jarring at first but had all these little nuggets I found very interesting. I’m looking forward to this movie as Oscar-baity as it seems.

  22. Elodie says:

    Yes deeply rooting for Chiwetel over the rest of the cast, but not holding my breath in regards of the Oscars nor any awards…

    Core blimey Lupita is gorgeous!!!!! Uh… Michael, your move? LOL!

  23. Tiffany27 says:

    So I just watched the trailer for the first time and I’m crying. I can’t. It’s gonna be like Fruitvale Station and I just can’t.

  24. Cora says:

    Is that Ralph Fiennes in the top photo (left of Chitwetel)?

  25. Guest says:

    Both are good actors: but one has to be realistic, it would not be surprising if they are not even nominated. The good news is that one can have an outstanding career without an Oscar.
    I hope Mr. Ejiofor do not get that level of sick fame that Mr. Fassbender had to endure. I loved him since “Dirty Pretty Things” and hope that both actors will be able to continue to do quality films for the non-multi-complex film goers.

  26. Gretchen says:

    I find it… amusing? bemusing? that Feinberg would summarise McQueens films thus “Hunger (2008), which is about a hunger striker, and Shame (2011), which is about a sex addict”. Yeah, yeah, just some random hunger striker, totally comparable to some random fictional sex addict….he was only Bobby Sands!! Slightly weightier byline was warranted me thinks.

    In other thoughts, if that’s Lupita Nyong’o in the top photo, WOW she’s stunning.

  27. ctkat1 says:

    According to the LA Times, 94% of the Academy is white, 77% is male, and 54% is over the age of 60.

    So far this year, there have been three strong lead performances by black actors (don’t want to say African-American, since Ejiofor is British). The Academy won’t be nominating 3 black actors in the Lead Actor category in one year- they’re going to look at their ballots and think, “well, we can’t have THREE of them,” which means one and probably two are going to be left out this year. My guess is that Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale Station” won’t get a nomination, and depending on the reception for “12 Years”, it will be either Ejiofor or Forrest Whitaker. There’s a small chance it might be both, but personally I doubt it. This is gross and wrong, but until the Academy membership changes, it won’t change.

    I haven’t seen “12 Years” obviously, but I think Chiwetel Ejiofor is massively talented so if he’s great, I hope he gets a nom.

    • ctkat1 says:

      Oops, and I forgot about Idris Elba in “Mandela.” Make that 4 lead performances by black actors, which in itself is pretty extraordinary, even if three are biopics and one is about slavery.

      I’d like to see a year where we have 4 lead performances by black actors and their roles could be played by a person of any color, ie. the fact that they’re black isn’t the total focus of the role.

  28. Nik says:

    A movie about slavery and all the writer could focus on (care about) is Fassbender and Cumberbatch (oh and seeing them in a photo alongside Brad Pitt too). No set-aside mention of Ejiofor who is the lead or the director McQueen who is responsible for putting together such an accomplished motion picture. Typical and disgusting.

  29. Bex says:

    I’m all about Chiwetel Ejiofor. Luckily, I think he has some big fans in Hollywood so hopefully they will be dying to recognize him at Oscar time. It’s weird but I hope he gets the bigger gift of a commercial success and wider name recognition first and awards second. In an ideal world – both!

  30. CTgirl says:

    I hope they both get nominations. They’re both great actors with a depth not usually seen nowadays.

  31. Arjuna says:

    @T.C. : +1,000,000.
    @NM9005 : Jennifer Lawrence has been critically acclaimed since The Burning Plain (her first film) so the “basic blonde with ok acting skills” comment is undeserved. I wonder as well if you have seen any of Lawrence’s films with the possible exception of The Hunger Games?…Lawrence is a marvelous actress especially considering that she has had no formal training. The woman has great instincts and screen presence.

    • Ennie says:

      Those Guillermo Arriaga scripts are full of nuances and scenes full of sad emotions where people do not scream . Amores perros, 21 grams, 3burials of Melquiades Estrada.
      I refused to watch babel because I knew it would be a wrenching movie, but somehow I missed The burning plain. Now that you mention it, I have got to see it.
      Arriaga had a planned project with Brad, I hope it gets made sometime.

    • NM9005 says:

      Nope sorry, for me there is nothing special about her looks and she doesn’t stand out. This is taste. Mine differs from yours.
      For instance, I find Mia Wasikowska beautiful looking because her features are so different in each movie which is a true gift. And her acting is great. Stoker was just a delight to see with all the great acting.
      Chastain the same (looks). They’re not great beauties but there is something, a je ne sais quoi that I love. J-Law is really plain looking imo and she always looks the same in films. Like I know I’m watching Lawrence.

      I’ve even seen J-Law pop up in an episode of Cold Case a long time ago (instantly recognisable) so where this ‘you haven’t seen heeerrrr in other things’ comes from baffles me as you are not in my head so you can’t access my memories ;)

      Just a few weeks ago, I saw SLP and again, I found her OK. Cooper was the one who was marvelous. I find her overrated but it’s fine if others enjoy her acting. It’s not bad, not at all. But for me, OK is fine in a business where OK isn’t even necessary (see Biel, Alba!). I’d like to see her in 5 years before I jump on the bandwagon.

      I don’t have to find her great because you do and I fail to see what’s bad about my opinion on her. Like she invented sliced bread or something when she’s a generic ignorant goofy (so the ignorance is forgiven *sigh*) blonde who happens to be in good films and can act. Seriously, every few years or so there are high-profile young actresses like her since the beginning of films. She just happened to win an Oscar (for the wrong movie imo) and high-profile. There are many young talents out there that aren’t so noticeable and so praised, you don’t see me jumping on people’s throat to let them know how friggin’ awesome they are.

      Oh and for the hell of it: X-Men, HG and Winter’s Bone. And I have a few others in my ‘films to watch’ folder so I hope that satisfies your curiosity re: her filmography. :) .

  32. moon says:

    Fassy got special mention in THR’s review of the movie, talks about how he brought depth and complexity to his character.

  33. IrishGirl says:

    Late to this but @T.C. and Arjuna: Good points from both of you, couldn’t agree more. Plus 1,000,000 to you both!.

    As for 12 Years A Slave…can’t wait for this film!.

  34. Carolyn says:

    I actually like Fassy & Pitt better when they’re part of a team, rather than the leading man.

    This looks good. Good cast. McQueen is talented.

  35. Blue says:

    I really hope Fassbender gets nominated for 12 years a slave. He’s an amazing actor and he was robbed of an Oscar nomination for Shame. I’m sure the rest of the cast will be excellent as well.