Looks like Michael Fassbender can order his Academy Awards tux nice and early. His upcoming film '12 Years a Slave', which premiered last weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival, is already racking up huge plaudits.
Telling the harrowing true story of a free black man living in New York who was kidnapped and sold to southern plantation owners in 1841, the film is violent, shocking and by all accounts exceptionally well acted and directed.
Some of the first nighters in Toronto walked out of the screening, such is the intensity of the film, but it received a huge standing ovation afterwards and some pretty amazing critical reviews.
“Stark, visceral and unrelenting, '12 Years a Slave' is not just a great film but a necessary one . . . Fassbender is brilliant,” raved The Guardian in the U.K.
The Irish-German Fassbender plays a brutal slave owner who constantly beats those under his order. And though publications like USA Today reported that 12 Years a Slave is a lock for all the major Oscar nods, Fass isn’t getting all hepped up. Yet.
The critical hosannas are “icing on the cake,” he said. “But the cake is the cake. I really feel it’s a masterwork. I just felt so proud to be a part of it.”
The film reunites Fassbender with his long-time friend, British writer-director Steve McQueen, who he worked with on Hunger and Shame, two other award winning films.
Brad Pitt also has a small co-starring part and is a producer of the film. He too was in Toronto to accept congratulations.
"Steve was the first to ask the big question, 'Why has there not been more films on the American history of slavery?'" Pitt said. "And it was the big question it took a Brit to ask."