Not Enough White Guilt

Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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A British screenwriter isn’t happy with the lackluster response to his Nelson Mandela biopic, and said he blames the failure on white-guilt exhaustion, The Guardian reports.

William Nicholson, 66, who spent 15 years writing “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” said this weekend at a film festival that audiences were ‘exhausted feeling guilty about slavery’ after watching Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave.”

McQueen’s drama won Oscars for best film, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actress, and was nominated in six other categories, in addition to receiving critical acclaim, The Guardian reports. But “Mandela” picked up just one nomination and a less than enthusiastic response from critics.

“[12 Years a Slave] sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available during this year’s award season,” he said. Nicholson has received Oscar nominations twice for his work on “Gladiator” and “Shadowlands,” and called the response to “Mandela” heartbreaking.

Nicholson also pointed out, for some reason, that he invented most of Mandela’s speeches in the film: “All but one … were made up by me because his own are so boring. I know it sounds outrageous to say a thing like that, but when he came out of prison he made a speech and, God, you fell asleep.”

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