As you may have noticed, there seemed to be something sour going on within the 12 Years a Slave film family at last night’s Oscars. The movie won in many notable categories, taking home multiple awards. Everyone seemed to be happy, but why then did director Steve McQueen and screen writer John Ridley act so cold towards one another?
Before the speculation of a feud begins, here are a few things that lead me to believe the two aren’t on great terms. First, Ridley did not mention McQueen in his acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay. He did mention many thanks to the cast as a whole but when mentioning individual names he failed to say anything about the director. At the Independent Spirit Awards the night before, both men won and neither of them thanked the other.
Next, when Ridley won he walked right past McQueen without a second thought. It would seem like the first thing to do would be to at least look at the director of the film who made it all happen. Instead, Ridley hugged the man sitting opposite McQueen and others. Also, the director had this weird finger-tip clap going where his palms barely touched. It was very mechanical; almost like he wanted it to look like he was clapping without actually contributing to the applause.
When the entire film won for Best Picture, the most prestigious award of the night, Ridley faded into the background as McQueen spoke, looking very uncomfortable. So what happened between these two professionals that their body language suggested such frigid hostility last night?
Certain sources are saying that Steve McQueen was not happy with John Ridley being given sole acknowledgement when it came to screen writing credits. It was, after all, based on a book of the true story of Solomon Northup. The director surely had some part in bringing that book to life. Maybe he should have been given some credit.
We don’t know what went down behind the scenes or if McQueen actually had any part in the writing of the film, but should he have been given some kind of credit, or is he just being greedy?
Photo Credit: Five Borough Films