Does the TIFF Win for ’12 Years a Slave’ Guarantee It an Oscar?

12 Years a SlaveFox Searchlight Pictures

To the surprise of absolutely no one who has seen, heard of, or had precognitive dreams about 12 Years a Slave, the weighty historical drama snagged the Audience Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Steve McQueen’s film — based on the true story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1850s — has been pinpointed as an Oscar contender since Academy conversation began, regaled for its material, McQueen’s direction, and performances by star Chiwetel Ejiofor and supporting players Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o. Looking at past recipients of the TIFF honor, we wonder what sort of odds this gives 12 Years in the awards circuit. How many past TIFF top prize winners…

…have won the Best Picture Oscar?
Four: Chariots of Fire (1971), American Beauty (1999), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), and The King’s Speech (2010).

…have been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (but didn’t win)?
Seven: The Big Chill (1983), Places in the Heart (1984), Shine (1996), Life Is Beautiful (1998), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Precious (2009), Silver Linings Playbook (2012).

…have won the Best Director Oscar?
Three: Sam Mendes for American Beauty, Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire, and Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech.

…have won the Best Actor Oscar?
Four: Geoffrey Rush for Shine, Roberto Benigni for Life Is Beautiful, Kevin Spacey for American Beauty, and Colin Firth for The King’s Speech

…have won the Best Actress Oscar?
Two: Sally Field for Places in the Heart and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook.

…have won an award for writing?
Four for Best Original Screeplay: Chariots of FirePlaces in the Heart, American Beauty, and The King’s Speech; two for Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire and Precious.

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’12 Years a Slave’ Trailer


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