British-Caribbean director brings “12 Years a Slave” to the big screen, Oscar buzz swirls for the film’s actors

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid Oscar-worthy performance in “12 Years a Slave.”

By  Carmen Glover

Solomon Northup (depicted by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor) strides briskly across the well-manicured lawn and is approached by two sharply-dressed men. They greet him pleasantly and offer him a gig, playing the violin, if he agrees to meet up with them later that evening for dinner. Northup agrees and by the time he realizes the earth-shattering mistake he made in judgment, it is too late and his freedom is stolen in an instant. He is robbed of his identify and ends up in slavery for 12 years while trying desperately to win his freedom so that he can rejoin his family and enjoy the comfortable life he used to lead as an outstanding musician.

Scene from the movie

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) walks with his family before horrendous turn of events disrupt their lives.

“12 Years a Slave,” based on Northup’s harrowing experiences in slavery,  was told in his 1853 memoir, only to be brought to life by a black director with Caribbean and British roots.  “I realized that the story needed to be told,” Director Steve McQueen said at a screening of the movie this past summer in Orlando for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). At the screening, McQueen shared the stage with actresses Alfre Woodard and  Lupita Nyong’o, who both star in the movie. “Brad Pitt became involved in the project,” McQueen explained, resulting in necessary support for the film to make it to the big screen.

Scenes from the plantation

Scene from the plantation

It is unimaginable for some people to consider any scenario which could trap them into slavery in today’s society. However, in “12 Years a Slave,” Northup’s vulnerability and trusting nature are exploited violently, eviscerating his dignity, lifestyle and sense of security. Ejiofior envelopes the character, possessing it completely, resulting in a poignant, raw and powerful depiction of a reality that is painful to witness but too mesmerizing to ignore.

Actresses Lupita Nyong'o  Alfre Woodard and director Steve McQueen discuss the movie at NABJ Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Actresses Lupita Nyong’o , Alfre Woodard and director Steve McQueen discuss the movie at NABJ Convention in Orlando, Florida.

“12 Years a Slave” opens in limited release today, expanded release on October 25, and in wide release November 1. Don’t miss an insightful, compelling story that is bound to ignite a myriad of emotions while at the same time, awaken a desire to learn more about other tales that are yearning to be told.  OnPointPress.Net.