Are ’12 Years a Slave’s director and screenwriter feuding?

British film director Steve McQueen (L) poses backstage with the star of his film Chiwetel Ejiofor from "12 Years A Slave" after winning Director of the Year at the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in Palm Springs, California January 4, 2014.
British film director Steve McQueen (L) poses backstage with the star of his film Chiwetel Ejiofor from “12 Years A Slave” after winning Director of the Year at the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in Palm Springs, California January 4, 2014.
Credit: Reuters

“12 Years a Slave” had a great night at the Oscars on Sunday. It won Best Picture. Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress. Screenwriter John Ridley won for Best Adapted Screenplay. And when he did, director Steve McQueen clapped. Like. This.

Steve McQueen Oscar clap

Why the angry, sound-free clapping? What gives? Why didn’t McQueen look happier that his movie had won an Oscar? Rumor has it that he thought it should be his Oscar. John Ridley adapted “12 Years a Slave” on spec for Steve McQueen after McQueen’s wife ran across the book, and as director, McQueen played a role in adapting it. How big of a role? That, apparently, is the issue. According to TheWrap, McQueen thought he’d done enough to earn joint screenwriting credit, but Ridley politely declined his request, and the two have been feuding ever since. McQueen reportedly even scolded Ridley’s wife at the BAFTAs and tried to take her souvenirs, leaving her in tears.

Whether the feud is real or not, McQueen certainly hasn’t been going out of his way to fete Ridley this awards season – he didn’t thank him in his Best Picture acceptance speech, and did so at the Golden Globes only after prompting from a producer. Aw man, does this mean there won’t be a “12 Years a Slave 2″?



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