Fox Searchlight is getting its Oscar plans in order by announcing that they’ve set Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years a Slave for December 27th. Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northup, an educated and married black man living in 1853 New York. Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery. The film has lined up one of the best casts in recent memory. In addition to Ejifor, the film also stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, Quvenzhane Wallis, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Garrett Dillahunt, Alfre Woodard, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Fox Searchlight’s Oscar odds also go up when you consider that two films involving slavery—Lincoln and Django Unchained—grabbed Best Picture nominations last year (somehow, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter missed the cut).
The only other film set for December 27th’s is The Weinstein Company’s Oscar-hopeful Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly. I can’t wait to see Twelve Years a Slave, and I hope it will play at TIFF like McQueen’s first two features, Hunger and Shame.