Filmhouse blog: Why 12 Years A Slave deserved more than two Baftas

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Although it claimed Best Film and Best Actor, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave should have swept the board at the Baftas, writes Rod White, Head of Programming at Filmhouse in Edinburgh, in his latest guest blog for WOW247.

Plus, read on to find out how to take advantage of our 2 tickets for £7 offer with Filmhouse…

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[From left: 12 Years A Slave producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, director Steve McQueen, producer Anthony Katagas and actor Brad Pitt]

Well it was the Baftas on Sunday, and not a whole host of surprises you’d have to admit, though this viewer would have to lament the disappointing haul for 12 Years A Slave, which only managed two prizes on the night – albeit two of the main ones.

If [the somewhat overrated] American Hustle can walk away with three awards, and Baz Luhrmann’s opinion-dividing The Great Gatsby bags two, then something must be wrong (I know, in the latter’s case it was for Costumes and Production Design rather than any of the more ‘talked about’ awards).

Hugely enjoyable though Gravity is (six awards on the night), I feel its appeal, and what has it figuring so strongly in an awards context, has more to do with its undeniable status as a ground-breaking visual spectacle than it does, say, its direction or its acting. That’s all I’m saying.

I’d question the Supporting Acting prizes too. Acting prizes should be like diving, or Freestyle Skiing (he says, topically), in that there should be a ‘degree of difficulty’ attached to them, which is then factored into the voting. Engaging as Jennifer Lawrence’s performance is in American Hustle – and how well she wears the wigs and the groovy clothes – it’s little more than a sequence of acting ‘soundbites’, and as such something an actress of her calibre could do in her sleep. Sally Hawkins and Lupita Nyong’o on the other hand…

Stephen Fry’s hosting was of the usual high standard, though he did venture down the odd comedic cul-de-sac once or twice – but he’s so good at it we should forgive him the odd meander. His berating of the writers Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) and Jeff Pope (Philomena) for grammatical errors in their acceptance speeches is definitely my kind of pedantry.

None of it, though, was as amusing as watching Outstanding Contribution award recipient Peter Greenaway’s thinly-veiled contempt for just about everybody in the room!

Read more from Filmhouse

• Awards season, film releasing… and your new tickets offer

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About 

Nick is an Edinburgh-based writer and editor, covering music, culture and the latest over-hyped TV shows.

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