The historical slavery drama 12 Years a Slave bagged the award for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Just as noteworthy, British film director, Steve McQueen, made history as the first black director to win the Best Picture award since the Academy Awards’ inception.
12 Years a Slave went against The Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Captain Phillips, Her, American Hustle, and its biggest contender Gravity.
12 Years a Slave is based on the 1853 memoir with the same title. It focuses on the story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor,) a New York-born man who was kidnapped by slave traders, sold into slavery, and worked in Louisiana for years under William Ford (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), the owner of a plantation.
During his acceptance speech, McQueen dedicated the golden statue to the millions of people who are still enduring slavery in the world today saying, “Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live.”
— Globe Arts (@GlobeArts) March 3, 2014
The movie took home two other awards – Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o who is a newcomer in the business. The Mexican-born actress who was raised in Kenya won the award a day after her 31st birthday. In her speech, she reminded everyone that dreams do come true, no matter where you are from.
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) March 3, 2014
Other winners are Alfonso Cuarón as Best Director for Gravity, Matthew McConaughey as Best Actor for “Dallas Buyers Club,” Cate Blanchett as Best Actress for “Jasmine,” and Jared Leto as Best Supporting Actor for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Other highlights from the Academy Awards included musical performances from U2, Pharell Williams, Bette Midler, and Pink. The ceremony also had a tribute segment for famous personalities that the industry has lost in the past year including James Gondolfini, Harold Ramis, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
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