×

’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.”

More Film

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

  • 2018 NALIP Gala

    National Association of Latino Independent Producers Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

    Ben Lopez has seen the future of the entertainment industry, and says it is the Latinx community. “In the next 20 years, we’re going to be prioritized — because not only will we have the numbers demographic-wise, we’ll have the spending power,” says Lopez, the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, [...]

  • 'Patrick Melrose' TV show premiere

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy to Star in 'Louis Wain'

    Benedict Cumberbatch (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Claire Foy (“The Crown”) are set to star in “Louis Wain,” a biopic of the prolific English artist who rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century. “Louis Wain” will start shooting on Aug. 10 with BAFTA-nominated Will Sharpe (“Flowers”) directing the film, which was written by Sharpe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content