The Oscar buzz surrounding Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is absolutely deserved. The film follows the true life of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana in the 1840s. The film is harrowing, especially in the many scenes of heinous abuse slaves suffered at the hands of their masters. 12 Years a Slave features stellar performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Lupita Nyong’o, and I think it’s safe to say we’ll see it nominated for Best Picture, Cinematography, and the sound categories in the upcoming awards season. This film isn’t for the light of heart, but it’s an devastating portrayal of one of the darkest periods in American history. 12 Years a Slave will undoubtedly serve as a landmark in media representing the truly terrible history of slavery; a film that is equally a must-see and one you’ll never want to watch again because of its terribly realistic nature.