Biography of Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen is a British director, screenwriter, and visual artist. He has received critical acclaim for his work on the full-length films Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave, and Widows. For his work as a visual artist, McQueen has been awarded the highest prize for visual art in England, the Turner Prize. In 2014, he won the Best Picture Academy Award for 12 Years a Slave, and was nominated for Best Director.

McQueen was born in London to a family of Grenadian and Trinidadian heritage. While at art school at Goldsmiths College, University of London, McQueen became interested in film, and then studied for a short time at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He soon made a major short film called "Bear," which was presented at the Royal College of Art in London. The film examines race, violence, and homosexual attraction within the context of a wrestling match, and received critical acclaim. After a series of other shorts, including "Five Easy Pieces," "Just Above My Head," and "Deadpan," which was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art's Contemporary Galleries. After receiving the Turner Prize in 1999, he traveled to Iraq as an official war artist.

In 2008, his first full-length film, Hunger, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike, was shown at Cannes, where he won the Caméra d'Or Award, the first British director to receive the award. His next film was Shame, in 2011, starring Michael Fassbender, about sex addiction. In 2013, he directed 12 Years a Slave, based on an autobiography of that same name. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and was the first film to do so that had a black director.

In 2018, McQueen directed Widows, a film that he cowrote with Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl. The film starred Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, and Michelle Rodriguez.


Study Guides on Works by Steve McQueen

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 film directed by Steve McQueen, with a screenplay by John Ridley. It is based on the memoir of the same name, written in 1853 by Solomon Northup, and tells the story of a black man from the northern U.S. who was abducted...