The movie centers around Soloman Northup, a free Black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. It follows him until he is freed in 1853. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Fassbender.
“At a festival that has shown so many brilliant films, I cannot be more thrilled to receive this award,” McQueen said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to all the people who have worked on this film, and that their amazing work has been recognized.”
“12 Years a Slave” will be released in theaters on October 18.