Steve McQueen's film "12 Years a Slave" not only received incredible praise from moviegoers and film gurus, it also snagged an Academy Award for Best Picture. But not everyone was happy about the film's success.
William Nicholson, screenwriter for "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom," spoke out against the movie complaining that McQueen's film stole his thunder. Talk about being a sore loser.
Nicholson discussed the flick this weekend at the Hay Festival in Wales attempting to explain why the movie chronicling the story of Solomon Northup is the reason his biopic "didn't get the kind of acclaim that I wanted."
"I'm incredibly proud of this film. Unfortunately it didn't get the kind of acclaim that I wanted," he told the Daily Telegraph. "It didn't get Oscars. '12 Years a Slave' came out in America and that sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available."
Nicholson continued to stick his foot in his mouth, ultimately ignoring the fact that although the black American struggle with slavery and the South African fight against apartheid are similar, they are two completely different things -- although apparently in his opinion, people are incapable of having too much sympathy for both at the same time.
"They [the audience] were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don't think there was much left over to be nice about our film. So our film didn't do as well as we'd hoped, which was a bit heart-breaking," he said. "I really thought it was going to win lots of awards, partly because it's a good story but also because I thought I'd done a really good job and the director had done a really good job. So it has been very tough for me. Some things work and some things don't. You just have to soldier on."
He also said he felt Mandela's death had a negative affect on the film's success.
"Mandela died as I was in the royal premiere with Will and Kate. Suddenly the word came through that he died. We were deluged with Mandela stuff and after a week we all thought, please, take it away, we've heard enough about Mandela," he said.
And let's not forget the fact that he thought the anti-apartheid icon was boring.
"All but one of the speeches were made up by me because his own speeches are so boring. I know it sounds outrageous to say a thing like that, but when he came out of prison he made a speech and, God, you fell asleep," he said.
Nicholson's film was one among a jam-packed class of award contenders including "Gravity," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Wolf of Wall Street," "American Hustle," and "August: Osage County," not to mention a slew of talented actors and actresses including Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jared Leto, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep. Although it broke box office records in South Africa, the film only raked in $100,306 during its debut weekend in the U.S.
CORRECTION: A photo that previously accompanied this story was of Roger Michell, who had nothing to do with the comments of William Nicholson. The photo was provided by an agency which erroneously identified Michell as Nicholsen in their caption. We regret any confusion.