Africa has made a strong showing at this year’s Academy Awards. The brutal depiction of slavery in 12 Years a Slave secured a best actress nomination for Kenyan actress and director Lupita Nyong’o, who made her US debut in the film. Nyong’o says she feels honored to have been part the powerful movie, which received a total of nine nominations.
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was born to Nigerian parents, received a best-actor nomination for his leading role in the film. Ejiofor’s performance has been described as extraordinary by critics.
Somali-born newcomer Barkhad Abdi received a best supporting actor nomination for his role as a pirate in Captain Phillips. The role has pushed him into the spotlight, but Abdi is just hoping the movie sheds some light on the circumstances that drive Somali pirates. Àbdi hopes his success will inspire others to pursue their dreams.
“For the Somali-Americans and for just all young men, you follow your heart and you follow your dream and it should work out somehow.”
Captain Phillips and 12 Years a Slave are among the nine contenders for the best picture award. The nominations were announced Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscar winners will be handed in Los Angeles on the night of March 2.