15 October 2013 6:13 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The makers of “12 Years a Slave” are in town this week, in advance of its Oct. 18 bow. And the Internet is buzzing with tales of Sunday’s partially-empty screening at the Academy and the hand-wringing of industry folk (anonymous, of course) who fret that voters might be turned off by its intensity.

A piece of friendly advice to those who might be hesitating, from the biggest wuss West of the Mississippi: Snap out of it!

There are four minutes, in the last half-hour, during which it’s worth hiding your eyes. But that scene is no worse than stuff on “Walking Dead,” “Criminal Minds,” “American Horror Story” or a lot of other shows on TV.

So why the bad rap for the Steve McQueen-directed film?

First theory:  All those slaves in “Gone With the Wind” seemed so happy, “12 Years” is considered tough because it’s an eye-opener.

Second theory: »

- Tim Gray

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