Fresh from last month’s debut at the Telluride Film Festival, Steve McQueen‘s historical film 12 Years a Slave received even more love up north on Friday.
McQueen and company received a standing ovation when the credits rolled at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, according to USA Today.
And yes, Brad Pitt was there.
“[McQueen] was the first to ask the big question: Why aren’t there more films about American slavery? It took a Brit to ask,” Pitt said during a Q&A session after the screening.
12 Years a Slave is based on the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery during the 1840s. His time on Louisiana plantations lasted for 12 years before he was released. Northup later penned an autobiography of the same name.
Here’s just a sample of the praise the early Oscar contender has been receiving in Toronto:
From Kyle Buchanan at Vulture:
“There’s no question in my mind that this will be our ultimate awards season victor, and the fact that there’s still any room for debate at all means that Oscar bloggers were high on more than mountain air last week at the Telluride Film Festival, where the film first sneaked before tonight’s official Toronto Film Festival premiere. In fact, I’ll go one further … no, two further: Not only will 12 Years triumph in the Best Picture category, but I’d put my money on a historic Best Director win for Steve McQueen, and I’d mark Chiwetel Ejiofor as the frontrunner for Best Actor. Like, what’s gonna beat this movie? Freakin’ Monuments Men?”
Entertainment Weekly echoes:
“The film is undeniably agonizing, but the yearning for Northup to survive and reclaim his freedom gives the audience an equally intense feeling of hope. 12 Years a Slave is a film that, like Schindler’s List, The Killing Fields, The Pianist, or Hotel Rwanda, makes you truly feel history by taking an atrocity out of the abstract and personalizing it.”
The L.A. Times loves it too:
“Festivals come and go; movies rise and fade. But once in a great while there’s a film that feels almost instantly, in the room, like it’s going to endure, and change plenty of things along the way. And 12 Years offers that feeling.”
12 Years a Slave, starring Chiwetal Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, opens stateside Oct. 18.