From Hunger to Shame to 12 Years a Slave, Steve tackles tough subjects with passion and a very evident love. His storytelling is all about creating genuine emotional exchanges between the actors. He’s always in search of the truthful moment that will give the audience real human access to difficult issues. He’s a visionary in that way.
In 12 Years a Slave, he gave us a very clear and emotional representation of the time and institution of slavery. The complexity of characters lets you see how slavery was a burden not just to the enslaved but to the slavers as well. The emotional toil affected everyone.
I think Steve is a genius at what he does, but he doesn’t impose his genius on you. It really feels collaborative and exploratory to work with him. What he managed to create was a sacred space where everyone respected the story we were telling. He gave us reassurance that this was for something bigger than all of us.
Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave