Oscars 2014: ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron is Best Director

Chiwetel Ejiofor

12 Years a Slave righteously took Best Picture at tonight’s Academy Awards. I’m ashamed to admit to waiting until last Friday to watch this powerful movie. I plan on watching it again soon because the performances were so riveting. The message of the movie and the emotions it prevoked were second to none this year. The timeline of the story itself felt a little wonky, and I wasn’t crazy about the lingering setting shots, but the film deserved to win tonight. The movie’s well-drawn characters and the masterful acting were second to none this year. Even better than Dallas Buyers Club and American Hustle (which I was already predisposed to like anyway for obvious reasons).

Steve McQueen crafted a masterful picture with such disturbing yet essential imagery. My favorite part was the heart-shattering scene where Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Solomon hugs Lupita Nyong’o’s Patsey and promises that he’ll see her again soon. That’s a promise that they both know he’ll never be able to keep, and she collapses under the weight of her grief. I’ll always wonder what happened to poor Patsey. Solomon was so traumatized by his experience at the end of the movie, and that made me cry so hard. It’s been a long time since a movie affected me so much.

Here’s something cool: Brad Pitt has won his first Oscar, and he did it as a producer. He looks so proud of his movie during the acceptance speech, and McQueen is quite humbled as well. I love his discussion of the “powerful women” in his life. McQueen ended by saying, “Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all of the people who have endured slavery and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.

Alfonso Cuaron took best director for Gravity. So many people (not me, sorry) enjoyed this movie. It enjoys the dual honor of being both a successful popcorn-munching and critically-acclaimed movie. Gravity was a movie event, and that is what the Oscars celebrate. Congrats to Cuaron on his win!

George Clooney

Michael Fassbender

Photos courtesy of Summit Entertainment

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78 Responses to “Oscars 2014: ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture, Alfonso Cuaron is Best Director”

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  1. TKK says:

    Well done Brad & Co!

    • seriously speaking says:

      there are so many award shows now that the oscars don’t mean much anymore

      of course the winners are happy – the rest, meh

      • MCraw says:

        Um, not true. It’s the oldest and most respectable of them all.

        Ok, can we all just get the basics out of the way? The Oscars, however you personally feel about them, are noteworthy and respected in their industry. The people who win and the people who lose wait their whole lives for this honor, some never win and are just honored to be nominated. Let’s just acknowledge this truth. And if it’s hard to grasp, just imagine if you were nominated. If even a tiny sense of pride arises, guess what? It’s a noteworthy award that no one but probably Meryl Streep feels “meh” about.

      • Kimberly says:

        I rather agree with the comment about too many award ceremonies.
        They all run together it seems and all quite similar. By the time the Oscars come around, as a viewer, it’s old hat.

    • jeranel says:

      that is exactly what the problem for me was…BRAD PITT (and company) . Pitt was NOT the cherry on the cake of this film. It sucks that that self absorbed narcissist sucked up all the attention in the universe for it.

  2. Janet says:


  3. I am righteously and silently simultaneously screaming YES!!! and fist pumping next to my sleeping sister.

    Congrats to Alfonso Cuaron!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Congrats to Brad, Dede, and Jeremy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • delphi says:

      Don’t worry, I’m sure my hootin’ and hollerin’ was a good stand-in for your silent celebration. So well-deserved, and every single person in that production should be INCREDIBLY proud of that film.

      Steve McQueen’s nervous speech concluding with the happy bouncy dance made me smile. I’d have done the same thing. 🙂

  4. Delorb says:

    Well those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Brad was never going to win for acting, but by letting others do the dirty work (act), he wins. Is it weird that I don’t really like Cate? She just seems so fake to me.

    • Dreamyk says:

      Brad was outstanding in 12 Monkey’s, Inglourious Basterds and Fight Club. I had no idea this was his first Oscar..as a producer no less. Nice.

      • First movie I ever saw him in was Fight Club–my first ‘grown up’ movie…good times. I loved his and Helena’s scenes together….I watched the commentary and Brad said that for someone so tiny, Helena was pretty solid (during the scene where she called the Narrator during the suicide attempt, and Tyler came to get her).

      • Delorb says:

        Agreed on 12 Monkey’s, Basterds and Fight Club, not so much. I liked his performance in 7 better than either of those two, (even though that film went off the rails).

    • Erm says:

      I’m sure that when Brad gets wind of your opinion, the tears he will shed will be perfectly reflected in the Oscar he just won for producing (and acting in) the Best Picture of the year.

    • lucy2 says:

      I don’t care much for Brad as an actor (he had a few roles I liked) but he’s turning out to be a pretty good producer. His company has put out a number of very good films and has gotten nominations before.

    • Nina says:

      I agree. Something about cate bugs.

    • jeranel says:

      I think he has been good but he has never been brilliant. same with Angie. They have found other ways to stay relevant in Hollywood. As long as Angie keeps using top notch 2nd AD’s she might get a best director nod some day too.

  5. lunchcoma says:

    I wouldn’t have minded if 12 Years a Slave got both awards, but I think Cuaron is deserving as well. These Oscars were terribly predictable, but many of the results were fair.

    • karmasabiatch! says:

      Me, too. I think 12YaS on bc of political correctness, not bc it ws the best film. And yes, I have seen all the films in contention, and stand by my critique. Her, DBC or AH should justifiably won. 🙁 Also, think Inside Llewyn Davis was woefully neglected.

      At least Matthew McConnaghy wasn’t robbed of his BA award. There’s that, I guess.

      • Anastasia Beaverhausen says:

        What is with your hate-on for 12 Years and anyone associated with it.

      • Side-Eye says:

        You think it won because of political correctness? Near universal acclaim from critics was political correctness? I mean, it’s not like pretty much all of McQueen’s films were widely acclaimed. Oh no, because he made a film that happened to be centered around black history, and because it happened to win, it had to be because of the PC media. Nothing to do with Steve McQueen or the cast’s talent at all.

        Give me a fking break.

      • Tanguerita says:

        aren’t you tired of dropping into nearly every post about Oscars and shitting on “12 years a slave”? Take your racist views some place else.

    • LadySlippers says:

      The last few Oscars have been very predictable. I wonder what’s changed.

      • Sisi says:

        I think it might have something to do with the fact that we start predicting it already when movies are still in production and don’t stop predicting till the Oscars. Gravity was already called Oscar material when there weren’t even people cast yet. So there are hundreds of Oscar prediction posts leading up to the actual show, sometimes even starting well over a year in advance. We didn’t do that in such extreme detail a couple of years ago.

    • Isadora says:

      Yes, VERY predictable. Actually the only non-predictable Oscar was the one for original screenplay (“Her”) and that was imho a very pleasant surprise.

    • lunchcoma says:

      I think it’s probably social media. Viewers have a much better idea which way votes are trending, and voters have a much better idea how their peers voted.

  6. Dappadaph says:

    So glad to see TYAS win. I too have not seen it because I know that it will be a very emotional moment. I have read many slave narratives as a AA Studies major. Happy Moment for so many actors and truer words spoken by director Steve McQueen.

    Bring on the snow! I will watch the morning shows!

    • LadySlippers says:

      I had to watch Beloved in the comfort of my house because I just knew I couldn’t watch it in public. So I get it.

    • frisbeejada says:

      probably a wise move, I went to see it with my sister and we both ended up as blubbery messes most of the way through. Brllliant film that deserved to win

  7. Alexis says:

    I can’t believe it, but I’m happy with all the major winners this year. With the exception of supporting-male, these were my picks exactly. (Personally, I would have gone for Fassbender over Leto, but Leto was also very, very good, so I’m perfectly fine with his win. ) Justice served. So unusual for an award show!

    • pwal says:

      When they showed Fassbender’s supporting actor clip, I shuddered. There’s nothing worse than being around a drunk, crazy and violent person, which makes me ache for Patsey’s predicament, although she’s been gone for 150+ years.

  8. Camille (The Original) says:

    I’m so happy for 12YAS for the win, so awesome. I said a very loud YES!! when I saw the news 😀

  9. Renee28 says:

    I have to applaud Brad for always stepping aside and letting his colleagues do most of the talking.

  10. Here’s the Speech for TYAS:

    I like that Brad stepped aside and let McQueen do most of the talking–I’d imagine that he was so EXCITED to be up there, it being his first time.

    And I loved McQueen’s jump at the end–I had a huge grin on my face for the entire video….

    • Liberty says:

      all of this! 🙂 for 12 Years.

      But, sorry, I am not a Cuaron fan. Should have been McQueen.

      • jj says:

        I would have preferred Steve McQueen for best director as well. Gravity was such a terribly dumb movie.

      • I didn’t see Gravity–and have no intention to…I took one look at Sandra’s face (which seriously, I would be amazed if she could move her eyebrows) and said no thanks. Plus it’s not that interesting to me…so I have no clue if he did a good job or not. I heard it was extremely difficult to make, so there’s that.

      • karmasabiatch! says:

        Excuse me, why are you pimping on Sandra’s looks?? She was one of the most awesome looking and gracefully aged women there. Feel like Gravity was robbed too, considering the technical and artistic performances that went into the film. Sorry for you that you don’t think the subject matter was ‘that interesting’ to you.

      • Megan says:

        Nope this one was all Alfonso’s! He created a masterpiece. He deserved this win. So glad to see him up there making history. Means a lot.

      • Dedre says:

        I only watched Gravity on Friday night and although I’m not a space or Sandra Bullock fan, I really liked it. It was a beautiful film and I even liked SB in it. Technically, I think he pulled off an incredible movie and I’m glad he got awarded for it.
        Very predictable Oscars!

      • Well, I don’t really enjoy ‘space films’, science fiction–whatever the film is classified as. Only one I’ve ever seen was Apollo 13, and that was because I had to watch it for school. And give me a break–I think Sandra Bullock is gorgeous. However, when I saw the trailer, it looked like she couldn’t move anything on her face. That’s probably the second or third time I’ve said it on this site.

      • LAK says:

        i love Cuaron. His Harry Potter [no 3] saved the franchise IMO. would never envision him making a science fiction film but i always think his films are interesting

    • lunchcoma says:

      I appreciated both his unabashed joy at the end and the content of his speech beforehand – it was one of only a couple of speeches that were actually memorable.

  11. SunnySide says:

    I appreciated McQueen’s speech, especially the reminder at the end that slavery still exists. We act like it is only a horror of the past when it is a horror of the past and present. I hope we can keep it from being a horror of the future. Congrats to all involved; well deserved.

    • truthSF says:

      Well said SunnySide!

    • LadySlippers says:

      @SunnySide: Not that long ago on another post (about BC’s ancestors) several commentators thought that bringing up modern slavery detracted from the horror of historical slavery. I didn’t agree with that logic and am very pleased that Steve mentioned that fact in his speech. Slavery — past, present, and future are all equally horrific.

      I agree 100% with you and I hope and pray that slavery goes the way of the dinosaur — and soon too.

      Thrilled to bits that 12YaS won Best Picture. YAY!!!!

  12. Anna says:

    Isn’t this the first time a Latino has won Best Director and the first time an African American Director has won Best Picture? woo hoo!!!!

    unfortunately with these wins and Lupita’s the racists are running rampant on twitter

    • LadySlippers says:

      I’m SO excited about the wins!!!

      Equally excited I’m NOT on Twitter.

    • Janet says:

      You knew that was going to happen. They’re like roaches crawling out of the woodwork.

    • TC says:

      Anna – Steve McQueen is British. Not African American. But it’s all good. He’s the first black director to win a Best Film Oscar and is now in the history books. What an incredible achievement.

      • Megan says:

        Yes Alfonso is the first Latino director. That is HUGE! Unfortunately they don’t cover it as much as they should. They keep talking about how Steve would have made history as the first black director (and he would have, which would have been great) but somehow being the first Latino is less notable. Very sad..

      • Tellie says:

        His nationality is British, his racial heritage is African.

        BTW there is another actor named Steve McQueen.

      • LAK says:

        Tellie: that may be true, but we don’t walk around calling ourselves African British. If anyone identifies themselves as African to another person, they will be asked to explain that further in terms of countries and or culture because we understand that Africa is a big place with many different and distinct cultures. our official forms make that distinction. This distinction isn’t just for Blacks, it’s also asked of Asians and Americans. We are simply British.

        BTW: the current Steve McQueen [ the vampire diaries] is the grandson of the late great Steve McQueen [BULLIT]

    • Adrien says:

      I actually enjoyed seeing those racists get butthurt by the wins of Lupita and 12YAS.

    • Nighty says:

      Really? Can’t people learn anything from history? I don’t get why people are /were and (unfortunately) will always be racist… It shows such a poverty of the mind and soul… So much ignorance… Though I’m not very religious, I believe we all should pray so that they (the racists) may find some enligthment and learn that everyone is a human being, that they may learn to see past the skin colour, religion, beliefs , opinions and be respectful… The world would be so much better..

    • mayamae says:

      Doesn’t look like anyone’s talking about what Rush Limbaugh is saying. What a pig.

      • Jayna says:

        Because he’s a blowhard. He makes inflammatory statements every Oscars hoping for free publicity. Not worth the trouble.

    • LAK says:

      Steve McQueen is British not African American.

      A GREAT BEAUTY just won the foreign film oscar. being that it is Italian, isn’t that latin too?

      I will never understand what makes someone latin vs what does not. Some of the best directors who rightly revered, oscared or not, are latin eg Martin scorsese, Bernardo Bertullucci, Michael Cimino, Francis Ford Coppola, Walter Salles, Pedro Almodovar, Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu. Why is it that some are latin and others not?

      • ZenB says:

        Latino or “Hispanic” as in Latin America, its a constructed ethnicity in the good old US of A. Anyone from South of the Border is Hispanic or Latino, it doesn’t matter that Guillermo del Toro is a ginger or Zoe Saldana has African blood, here in the good old US of A they are “Hispanic” as is Alfonso Cuaron.

        Alejandro is also “Hispanic” I am not sure about Almondovar as he is European. The others are Italian and therefore not Hispanic – unless any of them is from Argentina then they are Hispanic.

        Latin is different from Latino. Latin is anyone from Southern Europe who is not Greek. Marion Cotillard is also “Latin”.

  13. Janet says:

    The real story of Solomon Northup, as published by The New York Times on January 20, 1853. Heartbreaking to read.


  14. And just to make ONE bitchy comment (hehehe)—let’s hope that the People cover actually has the WINNERS of the award on the COVER this time ’round…..
    (if I knew how to make devil horns, I would)

    • LadySlippers says:

      Oh honey, I’ll ask GoodNames to scoot over and we’ll ‘fix up’ your crabbiness. I’m sure we’ve got one or two (hundred. maybe thousand) feel good pills just laying around. Perhaps you’d prefer a spa or a vacation to my newly purchased island? GoodNames really has the MOST to-die-for yacht though too. And she had a very yummy pool boy (sadly mine just quit).

      So what’ll it be my dear?


      • (peeks head cautiously up from covers)
        Hmmm—as long as Liam Neeson PERSONALLY feeds me these feel-good pills–mouth to mouth, preferably…..then I MIGHT take a few (hundred).

    • Janet says:

      LOL you are baaaaaad. Speaking of which, where were J & J on this festive occasion?

    • Bej says:

      @VC Really wanted to comment up thread to people saying you had some kind of personal hatred of Sandra Bullock that caused you to attack her overly botoxed & lip plumped face in Gravity. Unfortunately there was no reply button 🙁 Anyway, I always enjoy your comments & find that you are fair & unbiased in those you submit.
      Sandra Bullock is not the epitome of gracefully aging as someone above tried to argue & I agree that her face was one if the most distracting things in Gravity. The other glaring fault of the movie, despite it’s advances in cinematic technology was the glaring science fails. These made the film as unwatchable as Sandra’s immovable features for me.

  15. TC says:

    Pure awesomeness. I was hoping for Best Film, Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress and it won all three. I’m a happy woman. So well deserved.

  16. babythestarsshinebrite says:

    This was the first time I’ve watched the entire Oscars…I was surprised that the Academy got it right on pretty much all the major categories. I think the best actress choice was a tough one; it would have made sense for any one of these women to win. Of course Jared, Lupita, & 12YAS were my favorite winners. Sidney & Anglina were my favorite presenters because they are living legends. Right on to the Nelson Mandela tribute followed by a standing ovation. I wasn’t mad at Bette for singing my favorite song from when I was 10. Ewan McGregor looked as fine as can be. & everyone will make a best dressed list or two…except for Anne Hathaway.

    • homegrrrl says:

      This was my entire Oscar’s too. Blue jasmine was a misogynist pos so I was extremely annoyed by Kb win. Thank god for mute and home work.
      Otherwise loved Lupita’s win, along w jared leto and Matthew mc.

      My best Oscar year ever; for me, pop culture is improving:)

  17. lucy2 says:

    I haven’t seen 12 Years yet, but from the clips the performances were great, and overall I’m happy it won. I think that was only McQueen’s 3rd film, right? Pretty impressive.
    Overall I found the awards fairly predictable. Gravity sure cleaned up.

  18. Em says:

    Pleased for Steve Mqueen I really think he is going to go on to make a lot of good movies. Aside from spike jonze I think he is the most interesting of the directors nominated.
    I think brad carried himself really well, never been a huge fan of his. But he is growing on me with this producing thing.Out of all those ageing pretty boys ( depp, cruise etc) it seems he is having the more interesting career. He’s got good taste and sensibilities.

  19. Megan says:

    So happy for Lupita and the cast and crew of 12 years a slave!! Congrats!!

    And omg Alfonso Cuaron!! First Hispanic director EVER to win Best Director! So happy he won, he really deserved it. I’ve never seen a movie like a Gravity before, just brilliant. Really a groundbreaking film. Glad to see more hispanics being recognized in cinema. Usually it’s just a celebration if white actors/directors with a few black artists as well, but to see more races being included is wonderful. I’d love to see Asian, Native American, middle eastern artists represented too.

  20. Faun says:

    That movie was as subtle as a sledgehammer.

    • Truth says:

      Excellent. Great! Because only a true dumb ass would think that Slavery was “subtle.” Why didn’t you tell that to the Jews abut Schlinder’s list?

  21. serena says:

    Aww I’m so happy about this! Congrats to them, I shall watch this movie as soon as possible!

  22. Amanda_M87 says:

    I kind of figured this movie would win. I usually watch the winning Oscar film from each year so now it’s on my to watch list.

  23. bettyrose says:

    I’m sure it deserved to win and I fully intend to watch it on cable. I read the book and found it so heart wrenching and rage inducing I was afraid to sit through it in a theater.

  24. jeranel says:

    THere is something pathetic about Jolie-Pitt fans. They remind me of Beliebers. If you don’t like them then they just FREAK OUT. Kind of moronic people!! OH and you don’t have to be so sh*tty about Jennifer Aniston either. It is getting really OLD. SHe is over him. She KNOWS him, she was married to him, I doubt she is mesmerized by him like his luke warm witted fans. Lots of people dislike Matthew Mcconaughey, I love the guy. I don’t go on the warpath when someone disses the guy. THis whole internet war amongst the loons needs to end. You don’t honor your queen by acting the way you do.