John Ridley, 2014 Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, is attempting to quell the rumors of a bitter beef between him and the film’s director Steve McQueen, reports Huffington Post.
At the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony, many took notice of 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen clapping somewhat reluctantly for screenwriter John Ridley after he won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Even more glaring, Ridley did not thank McQueen during his acceptance speech thus sparking murmurs of a feud.
Adding fuel to the growing whispers of a rift between the men was McQueen not thanking Ridley in his acceptance speech when 12 Years A Slave won the Oscar for Best Picture, although Ridley was onstage with the rest of the producers, actors and crew.
The friction between the two men is allegedly because Ridley refused to share screenwriter credit with McQueen.
McQueen was nonplussed and appealed to Fox Searchlight, which ultimately sided with Ridley. Brad Pitt, who produced “Slave” and plays a small role in the film, was even forced to step in at one point and mediate. (It didn’t help that Pitt was also in the midst of a PR battle with Paramount over the fact that his company Plan B, based at the studio at the time, failed to offer it a chance to finance and distribute “12 Years a Slave” before taking the project to New Regency.)
McQueen begrudgingly agreed to hold his tongue for the sake of the movie. He, Ridley, Pitt and Fox Searchlight executives all knew what was at stake — and how easily a Best Picture win could slip through their fingers if public discord leaked to the media.
Their silence proved to be a wise decision: The slavery drama ended up winning three Oscars, including Best Picture, which McQueen accepted as a producer; and adapted screenplay, which Ridley accepted on his own behalf.
Though Ridley did not directly address the details of the feud, he insists that he has nothing but the utmost respect for McQueen.
“Listen, without Steve McQueen I wouldn’t have this Oscar tonight,” Ridley said to a reporter from the New York Post at Vanity Fair’s annual Oscar party on Sunday night following the Academy Awards. “I owe a lot to the genius of Steve McQueen, and I am forever grateful to have had the chance to work with him.”