’12 Years a Slave’ Actress Lupita Nyong’o Wins Oscar in Film Debut

With her Oscar win for her searing portrayal of Patsey in “12 Years a Slave,” Lupita Nyong’o became the 15th actress to win an Oscar in her film debut.

The 30-year-old joins such notables as Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Marlee Matlin, Eva Marie Saint and Jennifer Hudson. She was cast in the role by director Steve McQueen three weeks before graduating from Yale Drama School.

“It does not escape me that so much of the joy in my life comes from the pain of someone else,” said the radiant Kenyan-Mexican actress in her acceptance. “And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey.”

A day after winning at the Spirit Awards, where she dedicated that trophy to her mother, Nyong’o dedicated her Oscar to children around the world, saying, “No matter where you are from, your dreams are all valid.”

Nyong’o joins 14 other black actors who have won Oscars. She is the seventh black actress to win, garnering her award  75 years after Hattie McDaniel won the first with the supporting actress trophy for “Gone with the Wind.”

Backstage, Nyong’o said, “I’m a little dazed. I can’t believe this is in my hands, I can’t believe this is real life. I’m a little overwhelmed. It’s in my hands but I haven’t got my mind around it yet. You hear people wanting you to win and predicting you’ll win but it’s just not real until you hear Christoph Waltz saying your name. But I’m so happy to be holding this golden man.”

Asked about her journey along the way, she said “What I have learned for myself is I don’t have to be anybody else, that myself is good enough. And when I avail myself of that self I can do extraordinary things. I think that’s the thing. You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.”

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  1. Janay says:


  2. Sherry says:

    I see you’ve tried to erase that offensive derogatory headline; but not to worry, it will live on in infamy as one of the worst headlines ever.

  3. Emerald Call says:

    Real slick with the title change. You should feel ashamed of yourselves. This article had to have been approved or edited before being published. So that had to be at least two people’s input giving the go-ahead on the original title.

  4. I know you’ve changed the headline now, but I won’t forget. ’12 years a Slave’ has NEVER been written as “Slave”. It doesn’t even make logical sense for clarity reasons. You made a deliberate choice in your wording in order to denigrate Lupita and in this particular way because of her race. That was totally uncalled for. You lack class.

  5. Aclesia says:

    You guys should take the title down. Its not good for your brand .

  6. Deshanta says:

    Lupita earned an Oscar. Please show some respect. Shock factor not needed.

  7. Farrah Fryar says:

    Dave McNary. The title of your article is beyond disrespectful. Horrible. And don’t use the excuse of the title. If it were “The Wolfe of Wall Street” you would have said “The Wolf of Wall Street”. How incredibily insensitive. Just goes to show how much you could care less about respecting this actress.

  8. Sopmitchell says:

    The fact that this headline was allowed to be put into cyberspace, shows me that Variety no class, tact nor respect! First of all Lupita deserved better and she is Kenyan born. Not Kenyan-Mexican born. Are you serious??!!!
    David Mcnary=tasteless!

    • Amy says:

      I agree the headline is very tacky, however, Lupita is Kenyan and was born in Mexico. Thus, having dual citizenship. I think that’s what he was referring to.

  9. ‘SLAVE’ actress? Variety, are you really going to tell me this didn’t seem wrong to you?

  10. This is an appalling headline, blatant disregard and foresight.

  11. Michael says:

    Who’s the idiot who wrote that headline? Variety, you should be ashamed to be so insensitive and callous. Have some respect

  12. Russell says:

    Please fix this heading and make it more appropriate. I’d hate to think that Variety Magazine is capable of pitching subliminal racist bombs regarding such a wonderful accomplishment. Either that or get a new copy editor. #badform #terriblejudgement

  13. Joy says:

    Can we please tidy up that headline? How about “12 Years” actress maybe? Please and thank you.

  14. Kimicka says:

    Have some class or maybe some RESPECT. Why am I not surprised?! DISGUSTED to say thee absolute least, but not surprised.

  15. Bria says:

    Out of all headlines that could have been appropriate …..

  16. This headline is very disrespectful! You guys have continued to tweet after you posted this horrible headline, which only tells me that you are ignoring the comments that are being expressed. Lupita just won this prestigous award and you guys blatantly disrespected her with your headline and African Americans. It saddens me that we(black people) still can not get the respect we deserve. And YES I went there!!. You need to change this headline and issue a public apology to Lupita and the black community effective immediately.

  17. Dora says:

    Happy for Lupita. Hate your choice of headline. # epicfail

  18. Cee says:

    This headline is appalling.

  19. Tina says:

    Change the header. I see what you did there. Not cool

  20. Really? You could not do better than this tacky headline?

  21. Amy says:

    You couldn’t think of a better headline for this story? Really? Where did you learn about journalism University of Pheonix?

  22. Alice Kelly says:

    REALLY, you’re okay with that title … smh …

  23. Please fix this headline…. I can smell smoke, the firestorm is coming….

  24. Susan says:

    Atrocious headline. Do better.

  25. M says:

    “Slave Actress”? That’s your headline? Really?

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