Michael Fassbender first teamed up with director Steve McQueen in Hunger where he went emaciated himself in portraying a hunger strike in a Northern Irish prison. Then he worked with him again in Shame, where raised a lot of eyebrows in a full-frontal performance of a sex addict. Now, he teams up with McQueen for a third time in 12 Years a Slave, where he is an awful plantation owner. As good as his name looks alongside Brad Pitt as top-billed marquee names of the film, more attention should be paid to Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays the real star of the story.

Based on the autobiography by Solomon Northup, the historical drama tells the story of Solomon (Ejiofor), a black man who was born free, but kidnapped and sold into slavery — and Fassbender plays a big meanie slave owner. Joining the cast is roster that mixes Oscar bait with hard-hitting thespians including Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, Michael K. Williams, and that darling little Quvenzhané Wallis. Watch the trailer and feel the Oscar race begin.

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