'12 Years A Slave' Wins Best Picture, As Well It Should Have
It’s easy to just talk about the importance of a movie like 12 Years A Slave on the grounds of its ideas, which are certainly significant. But the discussion of that significance can minimize the conversation about the movie as an artistic achievement, a bar not all socially and politically important films meet. The performances in 12 Years A Slave are exceptionally deep: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, and Alfre Woodard are all tremendous, and tremendously human. The film’s lingering perspective on the Southern landscape emphasize Solmon’s physical isolation, not just from his family, but from any civilization that might have revolted at his treatment. The film’s use of music and preaching make for a richer cultural portrait of life in the slaveholding South. And the script by John Ridley is sharp and perceptive not just about blackness, but about whiteness, and about masculinity and femininity.
Sometimes, a silly system produces a great result.