12 Years a Slave is easily the toughest Best Picture winner to watch. I don’t think anything will ever top it. For the end of Black History Month, I thought it was appropriate to review the first film by a black director (Steve McQueen) to win the highest honor at the Oscars. 12 Years a Slave is a tough watch because it deals with slavery. One of the darkest periods in American history. Part of the reason we have Black History Month. Solomon Northup was a free African American violinist with a family in 1841 New York. As recounted in his memoir, Solomon was deceived by two white men into becoming a slave in the deep south. Where he endured 12 horrific years of hard work, torture, and humiliation until he found a way to get out. Chiwetel Ejiofor has done many films beforehand, but this was really the role that made him a household name. Along with Lupita Nyong’o, who received a lot more attention playing a slave named Patsey. A role that earned the first time actress a much deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The abuse that she suffered is what makes 12 Years a Slave particularly brutal to watch. Even worse when the despicable acts are being done by so many well-known actors. While very emotional, I found myself to be more angry than anything. Knowing that everything they could depict actually happened (and more than likely happened to my ancestors). I couldn’t help but cheer when Solomon did fight back in one scene. The subject matter is difficult, but important to know. Making 12 Years a Slave a mandatory Best Picture winner I could only get through once.