Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave' won the top prize at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.The film, based on a memoir of a free black man sold into slavery from 1853, won the Blackberry People's Choice award.

Steve Mcqueen
Steve Mcqueen attended the premiere of '12 Years a Slve' at the Toronto Film Festival

The drama that stars British actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor won the audience over in Toronto and is a hot favourite for a successful night at the prestigious Academy Awards as past recipients of the People's Choice award such as 'The King's Speech' (2010) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008) have gone onto win an Oscar for Best Picture.

The true nature of slavery in the 1800's isn't sugar-coated in this feature as the British director didn't shy away in illustrating the brutality African American slaves suffered from their barbaric white owners in the American south. The drama portraying a dark and plagued history has been unanimously praised by critics globally. So what have they said?

Peter Howell of the Toronto Star says, "Believe the Oscar buzz. Britain's Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) nails the horror of America's slavery shame but also finds humanity in one man's determination to free himself and return to his family".

Richard Corliss of Time Magazine echoes the praise by stating "in the epic form of 12 Years a Slave, his most approachable, emotional film, McQueen escalates the tension".

Watch '12 Years a Slave' trailer here

The Academy Awards are almost six months away but yet this movie has huge Oscar buzz surrounding it already, has it already cemented an Oscar win? Is '12 Years a Slave' unbeatable? All these questions will be answered at the greatest award ceremony, but a film with an ensemble cast that includes Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Paul Giamatti will be almost impossible to beat.

'12 Years a Slave' hits theatres on October 18th 2013.

chiwetel ejiofor
The British actor stars as slave Solomon Northup