“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.”
There is a scene in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave when Solomon Northup is recognized by one of the white people who knew him as a free man. “What is your name?” He is asked. His name is the only thing that has come to matter for that film this year. It is the reason Steve McQueen has been killing himself to help publicize the movie – committed to bringing the novel to classrooms, it is the reason Brad Pitt initially wanted to tell this story, and it is the thing that has brought screenwriter John Ridley to tears every time he’s talked about his experience writing the film. A name is something free people take for granted — but a name like Solomon Northup was too easy to forget for too long.
Has there ever been a year like this one where one movie keeps winning Best Picture but not Best Director? Not even the DGA? Certainly not the BAFTA who took the compromise route of putting Gravity in for Best British Film and having it win there (mais bien sur). Let’s look at it, shall we?
You can’t really count the Critics Choice, or the BAFTA because one is too recent and one changed their dates as to render them not a precursor. We can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no split like this one has occurred since those awards bodies factored into the race. So we are talking more about the Golden Globes, the DGA and the Oscar.