Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for best supporting actress Sunday for her role as Patsey in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave.” The film represented a major triumph in the life of the Mexican-born, Kenyan-raised actress, who came to acting relatively late — “12 Years a Slave” was, incredibly, her first film.
Accordingly, Nyong’o came close to tears several times in her emotional acceptance speech, during which she thanked her costar, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and many behind-the-scenes players in the film’s production — including a make-up artist and hair stylist. Her full remarks:
Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. 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. [Tears, applause.] I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.
Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into Solomon, telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you — I could not be here without your work.
I want to thank my family, for your training [laughs] and the Yale School of Drama as well, for your training. My friends the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother Junior sitting by my side, thank you so much, you’re my best friend and then my other best friend, my chosen family.
When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.
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