‘12 Years A Slave’ Oscar tarnished by feud over screenplay
Director Steve McQueen omitted screenwriter from acceptance speech after he was refused co-writing credit
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Tuesday 04 March 2014
The director and writer of the Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave are locked in a behind-the-scenes battle over the credit for the film’s screenplay, it has been claimed.
According to The Wrap entertainment website, British filmmaker Steve McQueen requested a co-writing credit on screenwriter John Ridley’s script, which Ridley “politely declined”. They have reportedly been feuding ever since.
Fox Searchlight, which backed the film, is said to have taken Ridley’s side, while its producer Brad Pitt played peacemaker. The participants were allegedly encouraged to keep the matter under wraps so as not to threaten the film’s awards chances.
12 Years A Slave is based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free-born black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South. The film won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, while one of its stars, Lupita Nyong’o, was named Best Supporting Actress. McQueen is the first black director to see his film win Best Picture, while Ridley is only the second black person to triumph in the screenplay category.
Observers noted that as he made his way to the podium, Ridley hugged not McQueen, but David O Russell, the writer and director of another Oscar contender, American Hustle. While accepting the Best Picture prize, McQueen neglected to mention Ridley, whom he had also omitted from his acceptance speeches at the Baftas and Golden Globes.
The Wrap’s report also outlined an alleged incident at the Baftas, claiming that McQueen had asked for Ridley to be seated at a separate table during the London awards, and that according to two sources, “McQueen berated Ridley’s wife while the writer was in the bathroom, trying to snatch up her Bafta souvenirs and leaving her in tears.” Upon receiving the Best Picture Oscar, director Steve McQueen (pictured) neglected to thank screenwriter John Ridley (Getty)
McQueen has declined to comment publicly on the alleged feud, but Ridley denied that he had deliberately left the director out of his speech. “I had less than two minutes to thank everybody and I was so caught up in the emotion of the moment when I was onstage,” Ridley told the New York Post, saying, “Without Steve McQueen I wouldn’t have this Oscar tonight… I owe a lot to the genius of Steve McQueen, and I am forever grateful to have had the chance to work with him.”
Ridley began working with McQueen on a slavery-themed project in 2008, and the pair decided to adapt 12 Years for the screen after the director’s partner, Bianca Stigter, came across Northup’s memoir. Screenwriter John Ridley with and his wife Gayle pose with his Oscar (Getty)
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
- 2 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 3 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 4 Time runs out for Christian Iraq: Isis deadline passes with mass flight
- 5 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
Endeavour series 2, episode 4 - TV review: A gripping, sordid, startling and magnificent end to the series
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Obama - 'We’re going to make sure that truth gets out'
- < Previous
- Next >