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“12 Years a Slave”

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

“12 Years a Slave,” made history March 2 as the first movie from a Black director, in the 86-year history of the Oscars, to win the film industry’s highest honor, Best Picture. British director Steve McQueen’s portrayal of American slavery won two other Oscars, including best supporting actress for Kenyan newcomer Lupita Nyong’o (above), who played the character Patsey. Screenwriter John Ridley won for best adapted screenplay for his work based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery in Louisiana. In her acceptance speech, Nyong’o honored the ancestors. “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,” she said. “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.”

 

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