It’s too early to talk about frontrunners and things, but I very much want to watch 12 Years a Slave. Because a) Michael Fassbender is in it, b) he’s working with Steve McQueen, the director who shot him into the awards circuit in his last two films, c) the rest of the cast is also great (Benedict Cumberbatch! Brad Pitt! Chiwetel Ejiofor!), and d) I just found out Hans Zimmer composed the score. Hans Zimmer chooses great projects to work on most of the time, and even if they’re just run-of-the-mill blockbusters, he gives them memorable scores. (The ones for Pirates of the Caribbean remain some of my favourites.)
But mostly because (a) Michael Fassbender is in it. It was because of him that I knew they were shooting this movie and I’ve wanted to watch it ever since. He may not be the lead actor, but I’ve loved his work since he exploded into my consciousness in that pivotal 10-minute bar scene in Inglourious Basterds. And from early buzz, it seems that he elevates his pretty much one-dimensional, horrible slave master character into something a lot more.
And then there’s the gut-wrenching subject matter of slavery of course, which will make it as difficult to watch as Steve McQueen’s other movies about an Irish reactionary getting brutally beaten up in prison, and later starving himself to death on a hunger strike to make a *point*; and a sex addict that somehow makes being naked half the time on screen not matter as much when you are cringing at the horrible life choices he is making — both which also starred Michael Fassbender.
Too early for frontrunners or not, it would be lovely if this film survives the next five months to make it to the Oscars.