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Saturday 20 September 2014

Did Oscars voters pick '12 Years A Slave' without watching it?

Published 06/03/2014 | 10:15

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Director and producer Steve McQueen (R) celebrates after accepting the Oscar for best picture with Lupita Nyong'o (L) at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW)
Director and producer Steve McQueen celebrates after accepting the Oscar for Best Picture with Lupita Nyong'o (L) at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Director and producer Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong'o celebrate after winning best picture for "12 Years A Slave" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW)
Director and producer Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong'o celebrate after winning best picture for "12 Years A Slave" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES TAGS: ENTERTAINMENT) (OSCARS-SHOW)
Steve McQueen accepts the award for best picture of the year for 12 Years A Slave (AP)
Steve McQueen accepts the award for best picture of the year for 12 Years A Slave (AP)

At least two Oscars voters who placed '12 Years A Slave' at the top of their ballot for Best Film chose not to watch it first.

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The Los Angeles Times reports: "All the same, two Oscar voters privately admitted that they didn't see '12 Years a Slave,' thinking it would be upsetting. But they said they voted for it anyway because, given the film's social relevance, they felt obligated to do so."

During her opening monologue, Ellen DeGeneres joked about the film, saying ""Possibility number one: '12 Years a Slave' wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You're all racists."

This idea that Americans did not want to watch the harrowing film became a meme in the run-up to the awards ceremony, and the Los Angeles Times' report has added fuel to the fire.

One anonymous voter admitted to the Hollywood Reporter that the reason she did not watch the film was to avoid "more terrible stuff to keep in my head." The voter claimed that they "never liked movies with severe violence".

These voters are a worrying statistic but they are, so far, in the minority. There are more than 6,000 members in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and only two voters categorically confirmed that they chose not to watch the film before voting for it.

 

 

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