Kenyan actress Lupita Amondi Nyong’o has become the first Kenyan to be nominated and also win an Oscar by winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles, California on Sunday night for her role in the movie "12 Years a Slave" that won the Academy Award for Best Picture and also making history as the first movie from a black director to do so in 86 years of the Oscars. Steve McQueen, the British director was ecstatic as his film also won Best Adapted screenplay.
“Everyone deserves not just to survive but to live, this is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup,” said McQueen in his acceptance speech.
The 2013 historical drama film is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same title by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free negro who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before his release. The first scholarly edition of Northup's memoir, co-edited in 1968 by Sue Eakin and Joseph Logsdon, carefully retraced and validated the account and concluded it to be accurate.
"12 Years a Slave" received critical acclaim following its release in 2013, and was named the best film of the year by several media outlets. It also proved to be a box office success, earning over $128 million on a budget of $20 million. In 2014, the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recognized the film with a Best Film award and a Best Actor award for Nigerian born British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.
"When I look down at this golden statue may it remind me, and every little child, that no matter where you are from your dreams are valid," she said.
Lupita Nyong'o made history by becoming the first Kenyan to win an Oscar.
"You are the pride of Africa!" President Uhuru Kenyatta exclaimed on Twitter celebrating Kenya's first major Oscar win by actress Lupita Nyong'o.
"It is our intention that Lupita becomes the first of an endless line of Oscar nominees and winners from Africa and Kenya," he said.
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