It was an emotional night for the cast and crew of 12 Years A Slave, as the film took home the award for Best Picture at Sunday night’s Oscars.
Producer Brad Pitt thanked the Academy for the ‘incredible’ win, while director Steve McQueen praised his mother Mary for her ‘hardheadedness’ and said the film was about the will ‘not just to survive but to live’.
However, it was Lupita Nyong’o’s heartfelt acceptance speech, as she took to the stage to accept Best Supporting Actress, that really struck a chord with the audience.
Lupita told the audience: ‘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.
‘And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.
‘Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it’s been the joy of my life.
I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.’
Arguably the most competitive category – Best Supporting Actress – was won by a tearful Lupita for her harrowing portrait of a cotton picker who was repeatedly raped by her owner in 12 Years A Slave
The actress, who celebrated her 31st birthday on Saturday, had previously worked behind the scenes in the film industry but this was her first role in front of the camera.
Jennifer Lawrence, who had been vying with Lupita for most of the awards season had privately told friends that she wanted Lupita to win because ‘she so deserves it’.