Italy Promotes “12 Years A Slave” With White Actors Instead Of Its Critically Acclaimed (And Black!) Star Chiwetel Ejiofor

The movie “12 Years A Slave” is being heralded as one of the best films of the year, is expected to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and leads the Golden Globe nominations with seven nods. Its star is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is winning accolades left and right for his performance as Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, who is abducted and sold into slavery. It is his image that appears on the majority of movie posters (right) promoting “12 Years A Slave” in the United States and around the world — except Italy, that is.

On the left, one of two promotional posters distributed in Italy, this one featuring Brad Pitt, who appears in the film but in a significantly smaller role than Ejiofor. The second poster featured Michael Fassbender, who plays the slave owner who purchases Northup. Fassbender’s role is certainly significant to the movie, but again, his role is smaller than Ejiofor’s. That both of these posters downplay Ejiofor’s role in order to heighten Pitt’s and Fassbender’s is a pretty blatant but bothersome marketing ploy. Yeah, sure, Pitt and Fassbender are bigger stars in Europe — hell, they’re bigger stars in America too — but, uh, given the subject matter of the film, it’s pretty grotesque to promote the movie by downplaying the significance of its Black star. [Buzzfeed]