Belfast Telegraph

McQueen dismisses Oscar 'first'

12 Years A Slave film-maker Steve McQueen has said becoming the first black director to win a best picture Oscar was "of no consequence".

Steve, a former Turner Prize winner, had a stint as an official war artist before moving into cinema.

12 Years A Slave, the s tory of a free New Yorker, Solomon Northup, kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South of the United States, also won Oscars for its screenplay and best supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o.

The Londoner, who now lives and works in Amsterdam, told Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young that he quit film school in New York because it made everyone "the same".

Asked about being the first black director to win the best picture Oscar, he said: "It's not important to me at all. T here's nothing I don't think black people can't do so that's of no consequence to me. I mean so what?"

Steve, who is working on a BBC drama based on the lives of black Londoners, said he was able to resist the pressure to conform to Hollywood's expectations.

He said: " I don't need money, if you don't need money you're free. You do what you want to do. The only thing they can offer you is money and if you don't need it, you don't want it, there's nothing there. There's no enticement".

Among his eight tracks were Raspberry Beret by Prince, Too Much Too Young by The Specials and Kate Bush's This Woman's Work.

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