One week after “12 Years A Slave” debuted at the Telluride Film Festival to rave reviews, Steve McQueen’s film won even greater acclaim after its official premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday night.
“I am composed enough to say ’12 Years A Slave’ is the best, most emotionally powerful movie I have seen in a decade, at least,” BuzzFeed senior film reporter Adam B. Vary wrote on Twitter in the first of two tweets about the film. “I would be afraid about overselling ’12 Years a Slave,’ but if you love cinema and storytelling and are human, you will understand.” Vary elaborated on those thoughts in a piece for BuzzFeed called “’12 Years A Slave’ Is The Must-See Movie Of The Year, And Should Win All The Oscars.”
He wasn’t alone in effusive praise for the film: “Suspend the betting, close the books, and notify the engraver: I’ve just seen what will surely be this year’s Best Picture winner, and it’s ’12 Years a Slave,'” Vulture movies editor Kyle Buchanan wrote in his “12 Years A Slave” piece, titled “Toronto: Your Best Picture Winner Will Be ’12 Years A Slave.'” “I’d put my money on a historic Best Director win for Steve McQueen, and I’d mark Chiwetel Ejiofor as the frontrunner for Best Actor. Like, what’s gonna beat this movie? Freakin’ ‘Monuments Men’?” (The George Clooney film, about a group of soldiers hunting down lost art stolen by the Nazis, is set for release in December.)
Ejiofor, McQueen, Michael Fassbender and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o were in attendance at the Toronto premiere, along with co-star and producer Brad Pitt. “If I never get to participate in a film again, this is it for me,” co-star Brad Pitt said during a Q&A after the screening (via Variety). “It was a privilege.”
Ahead, a selection of post-screening tweets from critics and journalists at the Toronto International Film Festival. Fox Searchlight will release “12 Years A Slave” on Oct. 18, following its U.S. debut at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 8.