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I just got back from the movie theater, having seen the last of this year's Oscar-nominated movies: 12 Years a Slave. Yesterday Judy and I saw Wolf of Wall Street. Although both of these movies are based on memoirs, assumed to be at least somewhat factual, they could not be more different from each other. I left the theater after seeing "Wolf" feeling disgusted by the excesses portrayed, especially after I did some research online and found that the main character is still scamming people and getting away with it, after serving less than two years in prison. However, that said, Leonardo diCaprio and Jonah Hill both richly deserve their Oscar nominations.
But I am still reeling from the effect that "12 Years" had on me. Knowing that everything depicted in the movie happened, and worse, I cried for the inhumanity that slavery perpetrated on so many people. If you aren't aware of the story, Solomon Northrup was a free black man living in New York in the late nineteenth century. He was kidnapped and treated as a slave for more than a decade. The movie is based on the book Northrup wrote after he was freed. The movie was filmed in Louisiana. "To know that we were right there in the place where these things occurred was so powerful and emotional," said actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (who plays Northrup). "That feeling of dancing with ghosts—it's palpable." Both Ejiofor and the woman who plays Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o) are nominated for Oscars.
Of the nine movies nominated for Best Picture, I have read that the buzz is going between "Gravity," "12 Years," and "American Hustle." I've seen all three, and "Gravity" left me in awe at the special effects but lukewarm about the story; "Hustle" was also loosely based on reality, and the performances of Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Jennifer Lawrence are so good that I left the theater smiling long afterwards. They are also nominated, along with Bradley Cooper.
But if I were Mistress of the Universe, Best Picture would be handed to "12 Years a Slave." An amazing piece of work, if you ask me. I'm glad I saw it, even with all the violence.