First-time Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong’o has taken home the prize for best supporting actress.
The 31-year-old, dressed in a fairytale blue dress, saw her dreams realised when she beat Jennifer Lawrence, Sally Hawkins, June Squibb and Julia Roberts to get her hands on the golden statuette for her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave.
Receiving a giant hug from her director Steve McQueen and Liza Minelli, Nyong’o made her way to the stage to accept her prize from last year’s best supporting actor winner, Christoph Waltz.
Speaking on stage, the Kenyan and Mexican actress delivered a moving speech, thanking the Academy before stating, “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s,” referring to her character in the film which is based on the true story of Solomon Northup – a free man sold back into slavery in nineteenth century America.
Thanking McQueen who looked tearful himself, she continued, “You charge everything you fashion with the breath of your own spirit. This has been the joy of my life.”
Starting to choke up she added, “I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.”
12 Years A Slave is nominated for a string of awards tonight, including best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, best director (McQueen) and the coveted best picture award.