The Chilly Feud Between 12 Years a Slave's Director and Screenwriter

When John Ridley walked up to the stage to accept his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, he walked right past the film's director Steve McQueen and the two men didn't even acknowledge each other. McQueen was noticeably absent from Ridley's speech and as Ridley walked off the stage, McQueen did a mock clap, in which his hands did not meet. Are they feuding or something?


Shortly after that, 12 Years a Slave won the Academy Award for Best Picture and McQueen, as one of the film's producers, also received an Oscar. He, too, left Ridley off of his long list of thank yous. And while Ridley joined the rest of the team on stage during the big moment, the two men stayed far away from each other and Ridley was one of the only people an excited, nervous McQueen did not hug.

The weirdness did not go unnoticed:

While the "12 Years a Slave" team made a remarkable film, all does not seem to be harmony and light. Screenwriter John Ridley never thanked Steve McQueen, or engaged with the director in any way, when Ridley collected his prize for adapted screenplay…I will admit I'm dying to know what the beef may be between them – dudes, youboth just won Oscars! – but they have successfully kept it out of the papers until now.

So what was that all about? One theory: