In Defense of ‘American Hustle’ over ‘12 Years a Slave’

Oscar’s 2013 Best Picture showdown was an open-and-shut race. Did the best film win?

Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Bradley Cooper in American Hustle (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Oscar generally prefers its Best Picture winners to be at least a little hard to watch, more admirable than enjoyable.

Based on a true story

That it ended up being deceptively deep was one of its virtues, and perhaps one that many moviegoers, so accustomed to being force fed serious topics garnished with disturbing images and baity performances, might have missed completely.

Into the future

Any of my fellow Americans who had sat through any slavery film from the previous four decades should have gone into 12 Years a Slave fully aware of the savage brutality of human bondage.

Singular hero or one in millions?

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa”

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