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Mandela screenwriter thinks his film lost because 12 Years a Slave 'sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available'

William Nicholson speaks onstage at the 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' Press Conference during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 8, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.
William Nicholson speaks onstage at the 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' Press Conference during the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 8, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.
Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage

It's been three months to the day since 12 years a Slave won Best Picture at the 2014 Academy Awards, and there is at least one person who can't get over it. William Nicholson, who wrote last year's biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedomspoke out about 12 Years's win at the Hay Festival in Wales this weekend, and tried to rationalize why his movie "didn’t get the kind of acclaim that I wanted."

His reasoning: Mandela's death sabotaged the film's reception, Mandela was kinda boring, and, most importantly, 12 Years "sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available." That is a direct quote.

"(America) were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don’t think there was much left over to be nice about our film," Nicholson said.

Nicholson, who reportedly worked 15 years on Long Walk to Freedom, was not done in blaming everything but himself for the film's lack of accolades. This included the timing of Mandela's death (his theory is that people were Mandela-ed out by the film's premiere) and Mandela giving what Nicholson thought were boring speeches. "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," he said.

What Nicholson failed to mention in his blame-fest is that critics overwhelmingly preferred 12 Years (97 on Rotten Tomatoes, 97 on Metacritic) to his film (58 on Rotten Tomatoes, 60 on Metacritic), as did audiences.