Throwing shade at the Oscars! There was noticeable tension between 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and the movie’s Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley while both parties picked up their awards onstage at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, Mar. 2.
Ridley, who first picked up his Best Adapted Screenplay award during the ceremony, was received with a standing ovation from many members of the audience, including McQueen. However, as Ridley walked down the aisle his smile quickly turned into a serious stare as he sauntered past McQueen. The director, meanwhile, gave an icy, automated clap without even acknowledging or turning to congratulate his screenwriter.
Even more telling: Ridley then embraced American Hustle director David O. Russell instead of his colleague McQueen. He then took to the stage and rattled off a list of thank yous, noticeably omitting McQueen entirely. For his part, McQueen, whose 12 Years won Best Picture in the final award of the night, also neglected to thank Ridley, who stood onstage nearby with the bulk of cast and crew.
So what’s up with this beef? Deadline founder Nikke Finke tweeted, “My sources attributing John Ridley-Steve McQueen cold shoulder at Oscars tonight to dispute over screenplay credit.”
Ridley is listed as the sole screenwriter of the fact-based film which chronicles the harrowing real-life journey of a free man named Solomon Northup who was enslaved for 12 years. Northup later wrote a book about the account. McQueen, who was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for his work on the film, is believed to have sought a co-credit for his hand in the screenplay.
Despite the speculation, Ridley told the New York Post at the Vanity Fair after party on Sunday that his snub was not intentional. “Listen, without Steve McQueen I wouldn’t have this Oscar tonight,” Ridley told the Post. “I owe a lot to the genius of Steve McQueen, and I am forever grateful to have had the chance to work with him.”
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