12 Years A Slave topped off its amazing awards-season run by earning the Best Picture Oscar tonight at the 86th Academy Awards. 12 Years director/producer Steve McQueen and producer Brad Pitt accepted the award at the end of a night that also saw writer John Ridley win for Best Adapted Screenplay, and rising star Lupita Nyong’o triumph in the Best Supporting Actress category. According to Variety.com, McQueen made history by becoming the first black producer to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The star-studded night also saw an energizing performance of “Happy” by Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams (who danced with Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in the aisles), a brief a cappella version of “Eye on the Sparrow” from Darlene Love during the Best Feature Documentary acceptance speech for 20 Feet From Stardom and Oscar presentations from Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Tyler Perry, Gabourey Sidibe, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and the first black man to ever win a Leading Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier.
One of the biggest highlights of the evening was Nyong’o’s acceptance speech, where she honored those who suffered so she could shine:
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.
Nyong’o then went on to thank McQueen, co-star and Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, her family and her chosen family, before closing with encouragement to children everywhere:
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.