As if it needed another boost, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave won the Toronto International Film Festival’s audience award. The runners-up were Stephen Frears’ Philomena and Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners. Expect the latter to be the big ticket this weekend as its only new competition comes in the form of Battle of the Year, a Step Up-inspired dance flick. Meanwhile, Ron Howard’s racing drama, Rush debuts in select locations.
Speaking of the box office, Lee Daniels’ The Butler became one of the few films helmed by a black director to cross $100 million in the U.S. It has become impossible to ignore despite divisiveness among critics. On that note, Kristopher Tapley of In Contention revealed that The Weinstein Co. will push Lee Daniels’ The Butler in the original screenplay race. The film took its inspiration from the real-life story of Eugene Allen – a Washington Post article about him, to be exact. But this move to the original screenplay race makes sense considering the huge liberties taken with Allen’s story.
Sasha Stone of Awards Daily already wrote at length about race and Hollywood just yesterday, discussing the aforementioned 12 Years and Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. (Here’s hoping the lattermost stays in the conversation.) Three films that focus on black people and were helmed by black directors aim for major awards success this year. It’s rare that three such films come along in the same calendar year – not to mention how seldom any such film becomes a major awards contender. Last year saw a stormy awards season, full of twists and turns (and perceived snubs); this year, we see the world around us through perspectives often ignored by the mainstream.