Lee Daniels who?
Just weeks after The Butler rose to the top of the 2014 Oscar shortlist, director Steve McQueen's eviscerating historical drama 12 Years A Slave has come virtually out of nowhere and captured the coveted Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF.)
The prestigious Audience Award has become a solid harbinger for Academy Award prognosticators over the last several decades. Past winners have included Best Picture winners The Kings Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, American Beauty, and Chariots of Fire (best doesn't always mean THE best, of course.)
McQueen, who grabbed arthouse audience's, critic's, and many a female's attention with his NC-17-rated, sex addiction themed-drama, Shame in 2011, directed 12 Years which was adapted from Solomon Northrup's brutal autobiographical account of his account as a free man living in Civil War era New York who is abducted into the harsh, inhumane, world of slavery.
The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northrup, Shame's Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch (the BBC's "Sherlock,") and Brad Pitt.
Ejiofor, who is known for his diverse roles in Children of Men, American Gangster, and Salt, has also become the front runner for the Best Actor Oscar.
Between 12 Years and Lee Daniels' The Butler, the 2014 Oscar Race is marching its way towards a bevy of nominations for it's many African American artists and craftsmen which, despite the films' heavy storylines, is something that every Academy Award voter and viewer can take pride in.
Ward Porrill is also the George Lucas Examiner.