Steve McQueen’s third feature film, 12 Years A Slave, has received 10 BAFTA nominations. The movie, which sees the Turner Prize-winning artist tell the true story of African-American Solomon Northup, who was sold into slavery in 1841, is nominated for Best Film alongside American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity and Philomena.
McQueen also receives a nomination in the Best Director category. He will be competing for the award with Hollywood heavyweights Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuaron, Paul Greengrass and David O Russell.
The strength of the performances in the film were also recognised in a trio of nominations for its actors. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is shortlisted for the prestigious Actor award for his portrayal of Northup, while Michael Fassbender – who starred in McQueen’s two previous films, Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011) – is nominated for Supporting Actor. Lupita Nyong’o receives a Supporting Actress nomination.
12 Years A Slave also features in the Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Production Design and Music categories. The winners of this year’s BAFTAs will be announced at an awards ceremony on 16 February.
The film, which is being tipped for Oscar success, has been hailed by Harvard academic Henry Louis Gates, the historical consultant on the film, as “easily the greatest feature film ever made about American slavery”.
McQueen, meanwhile, has been highly critical of the lack of serious attempts to tackle the subject of slavery in Hollywood. In a recent interview he said: “There have been more films about Roman slavery and Spartacus than American slavery… Everything can be told – there shouldn’t be any censorship on stories at all.”
12 Years A Slave (18) is on general release in the UK from Friday 10 January