12-Years-a-Slave-PosterAfter both Steve McQueen and leading man Michael Fassbender were snubbed for their impeccable work on Shame, we’re hoping that things will fare better for the two early next year for McQueen’s anticipated follow-up, 12 Years a Slave.

The brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor is front and centre this time around, and after the first official images surfaced last month, Fox Searchlight have released a powerful first trailer and poster over on Apple.

12 YEARS A SLAVE is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life.

Ejiofor and Fassbender are joined by one of the best casts of the year, led by Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Michael Kenneth Williams, Garrett Dillahunt, Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Ruth Negga, Alfre Woodard, and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o.

McQueen is directing from a script written by John Ridley (Red Tails, Three Kings), based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name.

Of course, it’s still very much early days when it comes to the Academy, and there will be many, many films surrounded with buzz in the coming months, particularly heading out of Venice and Toronto. But with such a stellar line-up on both sides of the camera, and the resonating importance of a story like this, I’d be very surprised if the film doesn’t get nods in at least one category, and most likely a handful.

12 Years a Slave will be released in the US on December 27th, and is set for release on our shores in the UK on 24th January, 2014, by which time we’ll know if it will be heading for the Oscars. Here’s the first trailer and poster to give you a flavour of what to expect.

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