Mandela Writer: 12 Years a Slave ‘Sucked Up All the Guilt’ About Blacks 

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom screenwriter William Nicholson told the Daily Telegraph that the biopic didn’t receive the critical acclaim that it should have because 12 Years a Slave “sucked up all the guilt about black people.”

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William Nicholson, screenwriter of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, poses at the Guess Portrait Studio on Sept. 8, 2013, during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Blame 12 Years a Slave for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom's lack of critical acclaim.

That is what Mandela screenwriter William Nicholson told the Daily Telegraph after the movie was slighted at just about every major movie-awards show.

According to Nicholson, 12 Years a Slave "sucked up all the guilt about black people" before Nicholson's 15-year-long biopic about Nelson Mandela, played by Idris Elba, was released.

"I think it worked superbly," Nicholson, who wrote some 33 drafts of the screenplay, told the newspaper. "I'm incredibly proud of this film. Unfortunately it didn't get the kind of acclaim that I wanted. It didn't get Oscars.

"They were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don't think there was much left over to be nice about our film," he continued, "So our film didn't do as well as we'd hoped, which was a bit heartbreaking.

"We showed it to test audiences very extensively and it got astounding responses. These things are measured in percentages and it was in the high 90s every time. So, honestly, we thought we had a winner. And when it didn't become a winner it was devastating, actually, it was very distressing.

"I really thought it was going to win lots of awards, partly because it's a good story but also because I thought I'd done a really good job and the director had done a really good job. So it has been very tough for me. Some things work and some things don't. You just have to soldier on."

Read more at the Daily Telegraph.

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