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Oscars 2014: For Steve McQueen, a fast rise and a strange journey
Oscars 2014: For Steve McQueen, a fast rise and a strange journey

The best picture win for Steve McQueen and his “12 Years a Slave” on Sunday may not have been a surprise for the many who saw the movie on the fall-festival circuit and predicted big things for it even then. But, in a larger sense, it was a highly unexpected turn for the producer-director, who just six years ago was an acclaimed provocateur artist in his native Britain who had never made a feature film. Even immensely talented directors can pay decades of dues before landing on the Oscar podium (see under: the Coen Bros), but McQueen has gotten there in what in movie terms is the bat of an eye. At the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, McQueen, then not even 40, premiered his...

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