12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o will receive the Hollywood Breakout Director Award and New Hollywood Award, respectively, at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards.
McQueen, 43, is a British filmmaker who has heretofore earned considerable critical acclaim for his first two feature films, Hunger (2008), a drama about an IRA hunger striker which won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and Shame (2011), a drama about a sex addict which won several prizes at the Venice Film Festival. (Both of those films starMichael Fassbender, who also plays a prominent part in 12 Years a Slave.)
Nyong’o, 30, is a Mexican-born, Kenyan-raised and Yale School of Drama-educated actress. Heretofore best known as the star of MTV’s award-winning series Shuga, a Kenyan-set soap opera, she won the role of Patsey — a slave who receives particularly unkind attention from her master and his wife — in 12 Years a Slave shortly after her 2012 graduation from Yale. “It was like finding Scarlett O’Hara,” McQueen has said, noting that 1,000 girls auditioned for the part. Nyong’o will next star opposite Liam Neeson inJaume Collet-Serra‘s Non-Stop.
12 Years a Slave is a drama based on the remarkable true story of a free black man from the north who was deceived and sold into slavery in the south in mid-19th century America. In addition to Nyong’o and Fassbender, its cast includes: Chiwetel Ejiofor,Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Kenneth , Williams, PaulDano, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt, Adepero Oduye and Beasts of the Southern Wild stars Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry and Brad Pitt. The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and then played again shortly thereafter at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was awarded the prestigious Audience Award. Fox Searchlight will begin its platform release on Oct. 18.
The Hollywood Film Awards are determined by founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu and an advisory committee. Last month, the Hollywood Film Awards and Dick Clark Productions, which also produced the Golden Globe Awards, entered into a partnership that could lead to the ceremony being televised in future years. Over the past 10 years, Hollywood Film Awards honorees went on to garner a total of 96 Oscar nominations and 34 Oscars.
De Abreu tells THR, “We look forward to celebrating this exceptionally talented director and actress for their outstanding work and creative vision.”