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Solomon Northup

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December 2, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
Since its debut at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals earlier this fall, the historical drama "12 Years a Slave" has garnered considerable critical acclaim, including nearly unanimous positive reviews and seven Spirit Award nominations , the most of any film this year. While the film's story - based on the autobiography by Solomon Northup, a free black man  from the North who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the antebellum South - is remarkable, perhaps even more astonishing is that the story is so little known.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2014 | By John Horn
Was it ultimately a race about race? The best picture Oscar is meant to honor the year's greatest achievement in film, and "12 Years a Slave" had no shortage of supporters before winning the top honor Sunday. But for all the film's artistry, the undercurrent of many "12 Years a Slave" conversations hinged on race and how Hollywood has for decades given short shrift to one of the most inglorious chapters in the nation's history. The film's distributor anchored its awards campaign around the line "It's time," easily interpreted as an attempt to exhort members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences into voting for the movie because it was the right thing to do. FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2014  |  Complete list of winners The film's director, British filmmaker Steve McQueen, said repeatedly during the long awards season that Hollywood appeared more comfortable making Holocaust movies than slavery stories.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In the film "12 Years a Slave," free black man Solomon Northup dreams of one thing during his long captivity in the antebellum South: returning to his family and home in Saratoga Springs. In the film, as Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, undergoes grueling labor and horrific punishment on a series of Southern plantations, Saratoga Springs becomes a promised land, its name uttered with a sense of longing and hope. Yet mention Northup's name to many locals in modern-day Saratoga Springs or ask about the memoir or movie that tells his story and they'll raise an eyebrow, largely unaware of the man and his legacy.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 3, 2014 | By John Horn
In the end, Oscar voters couldn't truly avert their gaze from "12 Years a Slave. " Even though many Oscar voters found filmmaker Steve McQueen's searing chronicle of enslavement almost too harrowing to watch, "12 Years a Slave" prevailed Sunday to win the best picture trophy in one of the closest contests in modern Academy Awards history. In a ceremony in which the space thriller "Gravity" collected a leading seven statuettes - including the first directing Oscar won by a Mexican-born filmmaker - the biggest honor went to the true-life account of the kidnapping and auctioning of Solomon Northup, a New York freeman bartered as a Louisiana cotton picker.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2013 | By John Ridley / ‘12 Years a Slave'
A nearly universal desire among writers is to make themselves conspicuous in their work. It's completely understandable. When a script that you've spent months - if not years - writing has your name on the title page, who wouldn't want the material inside to crackle with style; full of snappy rejoinders that audiences gleefully repeat as they exit the theater. Moments that scream: "I wrote that. " Having worked the whole of my professional life toward achieving such, it's kind of ironic that in adapting Solomon Northup's "Twelve Years a Slave" I would end up taking the exact opposite approach.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Come Sunday night, director Steve McQueen's critically praised rendering of the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South, may win the Academy Award for best picture. So why isn't everyone talking about "12 Years a Slave" around the water cooler, on the street, over coffee? It is arguably the most revered film in recent memory that so few have seen. Those who do watch it often leave theaters in a hush, finding it difficult to explain how they feel about what they've witnessed on the screen.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 12, 2014 | By Rebecca Keegan
"12 Years a Slave" was named best motion picture, drama at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, beating out "Captain Phillips," "Gravity," "Philomena" and "Rush. " Director Steve McQueen's historical biopic of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free man abducted and sold into slavery, "12 Years a Slave" has long been considered a front-runner in the best picture Oscar race. Golden Globes 2014: Full coverage | Show highlights | Quotes from the stars | Top winners/nominees | Red carpet arrivals | Complete list | Main story | Nominee reactions The Golden Globes are chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., a group of about 90 L.A.-based entertainment journalists who often honor films with an international pedigree or A-list movie stars.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 2, 2014 | By Chris Lee
Validating its reputation heading into the Academy Awards as 2013's most socially important film, “12 Years a Slave” saw screenwriter John Ridley on Sunday claim the Oscar for adapted screenplay. The film is based on the 1853 memoir of Solomon Northup, a book that fell into obscurity for nearly a century after its initial print run. To win his Oscar, Ridley beat the screenwriters of “Before Midnight,” “Captain Phillips,” “Philomena” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” With its unflinching period detail and 19 th century dialogue, “12 Years a Slave” chronicles the harrowing ordeal of Northup (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2014 | By Susan King
"12 Years a Slave" on Saturday evening won the 26th USC Libraries Scripter Award honoring the year's best adapted screenplay as well as the author of the work on which it's based. Screenwriter John Ridley shared the award with relatives of Solomon Northup, who published his memoir in 1853. "12 Years a Slave" was in competition with "Captain Phillips," "Philomena," "The Spectacular Now" and "What Maisie Knew. " "12 Years a Slave," which won the Golden Globe for best dramatic film and tied for top prize with "Gravity" at the Producers Guild Awards last month, is nominated for nine Academy Awards including film, director (Steve McQueen)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 30, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
The critical praise for "12 Years a Slave" has hit with all the fervor of a revival preacher, the film's significance so heavily underscored as to be almost intimidating. Now, I'm not suggesting this horrific piece of our history isn't challenging material, but director Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley use the full measure of filmmaking's potential to gripping effect. The actors, fearless and fierce, do exceptional work to convert the abstract idea of slavery into concrete shape and form.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 2, 2014 | By Noel Murray
Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1 Available on VOD beginning March 6 It's hard to know how to evaluate this because Lars von Trier's two-hour character sketch is, on its own, an unfinished film, ending on a cliffhanger that suggests a change of gears for the next two hours (set to come out in a few weeks). And that's not even considering the five-hour "complete" version that won't be available stateside for a while. But at the halfway point, "Nymphomaniac" is on pace to be perhaps the essential Von Trier film, pouring all his thoughts about faith, death, lust and gender relations into the story of one sick woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik and Mark Olsen
The period drama "12 Years A Slave" swept through the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, taking five prizes, including feature, director, supporting female, screenplay and cinematography. It won in all but two categories in which it was nominated. "I cannot tell you, as much as I thought the memoir and Solomon's words and work was special, I had no concept until I saw the movie for the first time," said the film's screenwriter, John Ridley, accepting the prize in that category as he referred to protagonist Solomon Northup.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik and Mark Olsen
The period drama "12 Years a Slave" swept through the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, taking five prizes including feature, director, supporting female, screenplay and cinematography. It won in all but two categories in which it was nominated. "I cannot tell you, as much as I thought the memoir and Solomon's words and work was special, I had no concept until I saw the movie for the first time," said the film's screenwriter, John Ridley, accepting the prize in that category as he referred to protagonist Solomon Northup.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 27, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Come Sunday night, director Steve McQueen's critically praised rendering of the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South, may win the Academy Award for best picture. So why isn't everyone talking about "12 Years a Slave" around the water cooler, on the street, over coffee? It is arguably the most revered film in recent memory that so few have seen. Those who do watch it often leave theaters in a hush, finding it difficult to explain how they feel about what they've witnessed on the screen.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2014 | By John Horn
Not long after Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last August, a friend cautioned the British director that his movie was "more important than you. " It turned out to be far truer than anyone, including McQueen, might have guessed. Nearly half a year after McQueen's searing retelling of the 1841 enslavement of Solomon Northup was first shown to moviegoers, "12 Years a Slave" remains the year's hot button movie, with McQueen the thoughtful and sometimes stubborn voice at the center of the conversation.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 9, 2014 | By Susan King
"12 Years a Slave" on Saturday evening won the 26th USC Libraries Scripter Award honoring the year's best adapted screenplay as well as the author of the work on which it's based. Screenwriter John Ridley shared the award with relatives of Solomon Northup, who published his memoir in 1853. "12 Years a Slave" was in competition with "Captain Phillips," "Philomena," "The Spectacular Now" and "What Maisie Knew. " "12 Years a Slave," which won the Golden Globe for best dramatic film and tied for top prize with "Gravity" at the Producers Guild Awards last month, is nominated for nine Academy Awards including film, director (Steve McQueen)
ENTERTAINMENT
February 6, 2014 | By Lisa Rosen
Great films rarely wrap up neatly. The audience is left to ponder what happens next. We at The Envelope couldn't help but wonder if the actors do such pondering as well. They spend so much time figuring out their characters' back stories, how much thought do they give to the after-story? We put the question to a number of actors in some of the season's most compelling films. Warning: Many, many (oh, so many) spoilers lie ahead. Sally Hawkins: Ginger "Blue Jasmine" Story: Jasmine (Cate Blanchett)
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