Oscar 2013: 12 Years a Slave and “Prisoners

“12 Years a Slave” and “Prisoners” emerge as Oscar contenders out of the 40th edition of the Telluride Film Festival. Interestingly, both films were last-minute additions to the lineup as “sneak” screenings.

“12 Years a Slave,” the 19th century real-life drama from Fox Searchlight, produced a standing ovation and rave reviews on Friday night.

Director Steve McQueen and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt attended a Q and A after the film.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen the film, and honestly, I’m a little taken aback,” said Fassbender, who has collaborated with McQueen on “Hunger” and “Shame.”

“I think it might be more productive if we all just had a group walk around the block or something,” Pitt added.

But it was Ejiofor who drew the most praise with Oscar pundits, some already putting the actor down as the front-runner to win Best Oscar this awards season.

The “Prisoners” screening did not include stars Hugh Jackman or Jake Gyllenhall, Director Denis Villeneuve and producers Kira Davis, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, and Adam Kolbrenner attended a Q and A, where Villeneuve indicated Jackman had expressed initial reservations about taking on the role as an angry father trying to punish the suspected abductor (played by Paul Dano) of his daughter and another girl.

The official premieres of both “Prisoners” and “12 Years” will take place next week in Toronto on Sept. 6.
Warner’s “Prisoners” opens September 20.

Over the past decade, Telluride has served as the launching pad of such Oscar winners as “Argo,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Descendants,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote” and “The Last King of Scotland.”