Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'

Voters found film 'too upsetting' to watch

Christopher Hooton
Saturday 08 March 2014 05:00
Comments
Steve McQueen became the first black director to win the Academy Award for Best Picture with 12 Years a Slave
Steve McQueen became the first black director to win the Academy Award for Best Picture with 12 Years a Slave

For those of us who weren't doing slow, emphatic clapping with tears streaming down our faces when 12 Years A Slave inevitably scooped the Best Picture prize at the 2014 Oscars, there was the lurking suspicion that the film's triumph might have had as much to do with its subject matter as its actual quality.

As host Ellen DeGeneres put it, to equal laughs and winces from the audiences: "Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins best picture. Possibility number two: You're all racists."

Worse than the chance that some Academy members bypassed their critical faculties after viewing Steve McQueen's film and voted for it out simply of a sense of duty though, is new reports claiming that some plumped for it without even having watched the movie.

A Los Angeles Times article on the Oscars states:

'Two Oscar voters privately admitted that they didn’t see 12 Years A Slave, thinking it would be upsetting. But they said they voted for it anyway because, given the film’s social relevance, they felt obligated to do so.'

Putting aside the fact that grown adults couldn't bring themselves to watch not a snuff film but a historical drama, in spite of that being their one job, the report lends weight to the view that cinematic excellence does not always come first at the Academy Awards.

12 Years A Slave also picked up awards in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay categories at the ceremony, while Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity was the most decorated film with seven prizes.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in