Steve McQueen’s Masterpiece ’12 Years a Slave’ Tops TIFF

“Right now I couldn’t do a better film than Shame,” said director Steve McQueen back in 2012. “I couldn’t do better, but I hope the next one that I do will be better. It will be better.” And although Shame was an masterpiece of emotionally gutting intimate psychology in its own right, McQueen’s follow up has proved to surpass everyone’s expectations, and apparently, even his.

As an unflinching and astounding director whose brilliance is evident in everything he touches, McQueen has delivered, what is sure to be, the year’s most epic film, 12 Years a Slave. With a passion and talent for exposing brutality with an honest and emotional eye, McQueen’s film showcases the work of a man who harbors an uncompromising vision and an incredible ability to pull performances from the marrow of his actors. Without pandering to an audience, without trying to dull down the absolute horror of Solomon Northup’s story or the atrocity of slavery, McQueen’s film unravels you emotionally from its very start and leaves you with the sensation that you have truly just watched a film—that feeling you cannot shake even hours leaving the theater, that’s what cinema is about.
 
And after its warm reception at TIFF and in Venice, last night 12 Years a Slave took home the award for BlackBerry’s People Choice award—and rightfully so. Is this an indication of Oscar contention? Will all the ravenous hype thus far elevate the film to a Best Picture award? Who cares. All that matters is that with this film McQueen has created a picture that will last in Hollywood and illuminate an enormous part of American history with an unwavering and beautifully-crafted authenticity. Looking at his progression from Hunger to Shame to this, we can only anticipate what he could possibly do next. “ I’m not reactionary; I’m not trying to stir the pot. I’m just trying to make films that have a reason to be made.”
 
 
The BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award

Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Sion Sono)
 
The BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award

The Square (Jehane Noujaim)
 
NETPAC AWARD

Qissa (Anup Singh)
 
ROLSCH FILM WORKS DISCOVERY AWARD

All the Wrong Reasons (Gia Milani)
 
RBC EMERGING FILMMAKERS COMPETITION

Requiem for a Robot (Christoph Rainer)
 
YOUTUBE AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM

Noah (Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg)
 
CITY OF TORONTO + CANADA GOOSE AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM

When Jews Were Funny (Alan Zweig)
 
AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM

Asphalt Watches (Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver)
 
Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations
Ida (Pawel Pawlikowski)
 
Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery Programme

The Amazing Catfish (Claudia Sainte-Luce)
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