It was a real-life fairy tale come to life for Lupita Nyong’o, who won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for 12 Years a Slave at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night.
Lupita earned the accolade for her haunting and captivating portrayal of the female slave Patsey in Steve McQueen‘s motion picture on slavery in pre-Civil War America (a film which won Best Adapted Screenplay as well as the top honour of the evening, Best Picture). A first time Oscar nominee for her first feature film role, the young actress was overcome with gratitide and emotion during her touching acceptance speech (see the video on TIME.com), in which she thanked the real Patsey for her strength and the real Solomon Northrup for sharing his heart-wrenching memoir of perseverance through pain.
Due to her powerful breakout performance, Lupita has been the darling of the 2014 awards season. She has won over countless hearts with her humbleness, eloquence, charm, grace, and (inner and outer) beauty. Lupita was hands down the Best Dressed of the Oscars in her custom designed Prada gown. The pleated light pastel blue (a blue that reminds her of her home in Nairobi) dress with the plunging-neckline shimmered and sparkled on the red carpet. Her outstanding outfit was adorned with jewelry from Fred Leighton – gold & rose-cut diamond spiked crescent earrings and a yellow gold and diamond headband – which completed the Greek goddess look for her perfect Cinderella moment at the world’s biggest awards show.
A few of my other favourite awards highlights were: the magnificent Cate Blanchett winning Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, Her (one of my favourite Best Picture nominated films) winning Best Original Screenplay, Frozen (my favourite film of 2013) winning Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for “Let It Go” (as performed by Broadway sensation Idina Menzel), The Great Gatsby (one of the most aesthetically astonishing films of last year) winning for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, and the innovative and ground-breaking Gravity sweeping awards in the categories of score, sound, editing, visual, cinematography, and direction.
Some non-awards related show-stealing moments included: host Ellen DeGeneres ordering pizza for the audience and snapping the selfie that broke Twitter, breaking a world record by reaching well over one million retweets (talk about star power!), Lupita, Meryl Streep, and Amy Adams dancing along to Pharrell Williams‘ (who brought back his beloved Arby’s hat!) performance of “Happy” from Despicable Me 2, P!nk delivering a stunning vocal of “Over the Rainbow” during The Wizard of Oz tribute, and John Travolta‘s odd yet hilarious butchering of Idina Menzel’s name (Adele Hazin who?).
For me, what I will always remember most about this awards season is following Lupita’s journey from newcomer to the name on everyone’s lips. How could one possibly forget her phenomenal acting talent, her ability to look good in every colour, and her innate ability to move people to tears and motivate thought and action with her words (if you haven’t already, you must read Lupita’s speech on the importance of diverse representation in the media from the Black Women in Hollywood event on Essence.com). This women is an inspiration to all, and I couldn’t be happier to see her Oscar dream come true.
Cheers to you, Lupita Nyong’o! I look forward to seeing you continue to shine like a star and rise to great heights in your career!
“No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” – Lupita Nyong’o