Lupita Nyong’o has won the Academy Award for supporting actress in her role as ‘Patsey’ in Steve McQueen directed drama, ‘Twelve Years as a Slave’. The most prestigious film awards – the Oscars have a global audience of about 40 million. The win follows Nyong’o’s taking the same award at the ‘Screen Actors’ Guild Award’ She has also won the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association Award for the role as well as a number of regional accolades from critics/groups in Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Phoenix, and more. The 30-year old cosmopolitan ingénue Lupita Nyong’o was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents (her father is the politician Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o). She spent her childhood in Kenya, before going to the US to attend Hampshire College and Yale School of Drama. ’12 Years a Slave’ is amazingly her first film, a “breakout” role she landed as she was graduating from Yale. The Kenyan always felt that she had an instinct for acting – which she describes as “mysterious and magical” – but needed the tools provided by drama school to fulfil her dream.
Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates jr described the movie as “the best film about slavery ever made from the point of view of a slave”. Two brilliant Oscar-deserving performances stand out in 12 Years a Slave: the lead actor, Ejiofor, and Nyong’o as the concubine of a cruel slave-master. The film “12 Years A Slave” won nine Oscar nominations. The film is unrelenting in depicting the unspeakable cruelty and savagery of psychotic white plantation owners involving the lynching, whipping, and rape of black slaves. The artistic elegance of the cinematography vividly depicts the casual brutality, sheer helplessness, and monotonous tedium of plantation life. With powerful performances, by the lead actors of African origin this year has been a landmark year and can be called historic for the descendants of Africa and its diaspora. “12 Years a Slave” took top honors at the 86th Academy Awards by winning the Oscar for best picture. Added to Lupita Nyong’o’s win for supporting actress and John Ridley’s for adapted screenplay, the film took three awards total.