CALIFORNIA, United States, Wednesday March 5, 2014 – History was made, as well as depicted, by the harrowing historical drama “12 Years a Slave,” which bagged the best picture Oscar at the 86th annual Academy Awards on Sunday.
British-Caribbean director Steve McQueen’s unflinching portrayal of 19th century American slavery marked the first time a film directed by a black filmmaker has won an Oscar for best picture.
McQueen, who based his epic movie on the trials of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, dedicated the honour to all those who had suffered slavery and “the 21 million who still endure slavery today.”
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” said McQueen. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup.”
The film also bagged the Oscar for best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o for her moving portrayal of Patsy, a comely slave who caught her sadistic master’s eye.
The 31-year-old breakthrough star picked up the award on her film debut, beating out experienced actresses Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, and June Squibb in that category.
In accepting the award, the Mexican-born actress of Kenyan descent paid tribute to director McQueen.
“I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and they are watching and they are grateful, and so am I.”
Meanwhile, the 3-D space odyssey “Gravity” emerged as the night’s top award-winner in terms of numbers. Sweeping the technical categories, it earned seven Oscars including best director for Alfonso Cuaron. The Mexican filmmaker is the category’s first Latino winner.
Other major awards went to the stars of the Texas AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club,” Matthew McConaughey (best actor) and Jared Leto (best supporting actor), and Australia’s Cate Blanchett for her portrayal of a fallen socialite in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” (best actress, her second Oscar).