’12 Years a Slave’ Impacts the Oscars

LUPITA NYONG'O celebrates winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. THE OSCARS(r) - THEATRE - The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Adam Taylor)
LUPITA NYONG'O celebrates winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.  THE OSCARS(r) - THEATRE - The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Adam Taylor)
LUPITA NYONG’O celebrates winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center(r). ABC Television Network. (ABC/Adam Taylor)

I had the audacity of seeing ’12 years a Slave.’ I am thankful I had the opportunity to see this artistic and theatrical masterpiece. This is by far the best movie of the year. Good for the Academy Awards for getting it right in making the raw slavery drama Best Picture. ’12 Years a Slave’  is the one one movie that seemed to get hype snub from around the way as other people seemed focused on other movies in conversation and on the street.

There is a reason why ’12 Years a Slave’ beat out the competition.  Film critics knew all about the Steve McQueen directed gut-wrenching film, but it seemed more of a novelty to the rest of America. Slavery and its impact on this country, particularly on African Americans, is an important fabric of American life. The problem with a movie like ’12 Years a Slave’ is that white America does not want to be reminded of its past sins of participating in the worst form of human dictatorship and enslavement the world has ever known.

It is difficult to boast that that you’re the greatest country in the world while your leaders are raping women, tearing apart families, degrading the human soul of another person because of the color of their skin, emasculating men through torture, inhuman bondage and lynching and taking away the basic right of any human being; and that’s freedom.

This is what we have in ’12 Years a Slave.’ It is raw; it is intense. It is both riveting and hard to take as the movie explores the life of Solomon Northup, a free black man tricked into slavery. The result is a 12-year journey of Northup’s worst nightmare in being treated as a piece of meat and nothing more than an instrument for for the enhancement of white America’s cruel propriety called the slave trade.

This film takes through the real of a woman being the unwilling subject of a man’s lustful desire once you became the property of her master. This is what black women and black men had to endure. And without apologies, McQueen captures the searing exploitation of the slave trade, which makes ’12 Years a Slave,’  a movie you can’t take your eyes off of.

’12 Years a Slave’ is a perfect combination of excellent acting, great directing and a story that was born to tug at the heartstrings of those with a human spirit. What this movie will do is give inspiration to other filmmakers to come up and tell their story without fear of a backlash and be bold enough to test the boundary of Hollywood. All of America will be better of because of the education lesson taught to us by ’12 Years a Slave’ that we couldn’t visualize while we were in school.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1057 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.