And the Winner Is….

And the Winner Is….

Well, Telluride. 

Judging from the lines at any movie, people who make the popcorn seem to know what they are doing. Apparently so do the people who put together the Telluride Film Festival.

"12 Years a Slave" team after winning Best Pic. (Image, The New York Times)

“12 Years a Slave” team after winning Best Pic. (Image, The New York Times)

Telluride built its acclaim as buzzmeister extraordinaire over 40 years by celebrating the art, not the business, of filmmaking. From the get-go, Festival founders and directors emeriti Bill and Stella Pence and now Tom Luddy, also co-founder, plus Gary Meyer and Julie Huntsinger became renowned for turning their backs on The Industry, Hollywood shorthand for special effects, mind-numbing plots, testosterone-fueled blood and gore fests, blockbusters, crowd-pleasing franchises, bad guesses, and good luck. Film Fest directors have consistently put the spotlight on intelligent storytelling and superior filmmaking to create a rich, soul-nourishing stew, the result of a seductive mix of past and present, foreign and domestic, obscure and accessible, dark and light, long and short, features and documentaries.

Let the record speak for itself. Here’s a short list of Oscar winners launched in Telluride: from 2010 alone, “The King’s Speech,” “Black Swan” and “Inside Job,” but also “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “Capote,” “Walk the Line,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “The Crying Game.”

Alfronso Curaon accepts Best Director at Oscars. By Kevin Winter:Getty Images.And now tonight: Director Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” took Best Picture at Oscar. The film was a sneak peak preview at the 40th annual event, which appeared with cast members Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o, And we were among the spellbound crowd at the Herzog, when the other big winner, ‘Gravity,” which took all the technical awards tonight ( seven in all) and Best Director for Alfonso Curaon, had its North American premiere  in Telluride. Too bad “Nebraska” never made it to the stage, an audience favorite Labor day weekend, particularly Bruce Dern and June Squibb, but both were appropriately honored by Oscar host-with- the- most Ellen Degeneres and others at the extravaganza.

For the whole story, check out this article by Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes that appeared right after the Oscars in the New York Times.

In a triumph long deferred, ‘’12 Years a Slave” won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, for the first time conferring Hollywood’s top honor on the work of a black director.

“I’d like to thank this amazing story,” said Steve McQueen, the British-born filmmaker who grasped a prize that has eluded African-American directors and their movies since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave its first Oscars in 1929.

“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” said Mr. McQueen, who dedicated the film to those who had endured slavery, both in the past and in the present.

Only minutes before, Mr. McQueen had been overlooked for the directing award, which went to Alfonso Cuarón for “Gravity,” a 3-D blockbuster whose story of survival in space had been locked with Mr. McQueen’s film and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” in a ferocious contest for the best picture statuette.

In the end, Fox Searchlight, which distributed “12 Years a Slave,” about a 19th-century man, Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped into slavery, carried the day with the help of an advertising slogan that reminded Oscar voters of their chance to make history. “It’s time,” said the ads.

Diversity was a leading motif for ceremony that was hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, a happy-go-lucky lesbian who spent most of the evening in a tuxedo, and which also honored Jared Leto as best supporting actor for his role as a transgender AIDS patient in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

The best actress award went to Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine,”…

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