The Politics of the '12 Years a Slave' Oscar Win

by Alicia Lutes

Listen: everyone's going to have an opinion on which of the year's myriad films deserve the categorization of "Best." For Oscar voters at this year's ceremony, top honors went to 12 Years a Slave , a very important film indeed. While most people were more than satisfied with the Chiwetel Ejiofor-fronted film taking home the prize, some people were not. What's interesting about the dissenting voices is looking at just who, exactly, they are. Turns out when you look at the political affiliations of those who the Steve McQueen feature nabbing the prize was considered an error, a line in the sand becomes increasingly clear: they're 40% more likely to be Republican! Now, the math here is tricky, but luckily The Hollywood Reporter has broken the poll numbers down.

Though we're not sure why, a North Carolina-based national polling firm, Public Policy Polling, asked registered voters what they thought about the selection of 12 Years a Slave as the winner of the Best Picture award at this year's Academy Awards. And of the 1,152 people polled between March 6 and March 9, 32 percent of these voters said they agreed, 16 percent said they disagreed, and 52 percent were not sure.

What's interesting is the dichotomy of those choices. According to THR, the majority of people who agreed identified as Democrat and the majority of those who disagreed ID'd themselves as Republicans. And those numbers get broken down even farther.

Political Affiliation Breakdown by Percentage, In Agreeance:

  • 53 percent Democrats
  • 20 percent Independents/Other
  • 15 percent Republicans

Political Affiliation Breakdown by Percentage, In Disagreeance:

  • 23 percent Republicans
  • 17 percent Independents/Other
  • 10 percent Democrats

Political Affiliation Breakdown by Percentage, Unsure:

  • 63 percent Independents/Other
  • 61 percent Republicans
  • 37 percent Democrats

There are also some interesting numbers regarding race breakdowns (which will also be less-than-surprising to you, dear reader), but it feels as though this is enough rage to cause a person in one article. Overall, the majority of people who agreed with the win voted for Barack Obama, while the majority who disagreed voted for Mitt "Mittens" Romney. Gee what a surprise!

I mean, historically speaking, it should be a surprise. After all it was a Republican who emancipated African Americans from the chains of slavery. But technically speaking, the Republicans of today are known far more for their bigotry and hatred of anything that isn't "rich, white dude." So, the other answer here is likely the one we all secretly know it is: people who disagree are probably/maybe racists! I mean it's clearly not about towing the party line given who started the whole "slaves should be free people" thing (and yes, we know that the Republicans of that era are not-at-all the same as the ones of today). So it's got to be more about ignorance, bigotry, or the feeling that Scary Movie 5 was robbed. USA! USA! USuuuuuugh.

Image: Twentieth Century Fox