Lupita Nyong’o is the talk of the continent after she became the first African to win an Oscar.
Lupita Nyong’o walked home with a best supporting actress award at Sunday’s Oscars, the “12 Years a Slave” star honored the character that put her on stage.
“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 due to so much pain in someone else’s,” she said after winning the accolade.
Nyong’o had been considered a front-runner in a category that included Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”; Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”; Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”; and June Squibb, “Nebraska.” Among other awards, Nyong’o claimed a Spirit Award on Saturday, the day she turned 31.
But she appeared shocked when her name was called . She bent over in her seat, then rose, still looking stunned, as the audience erupted with cheers and a standing ovation.
Nyong’o, who has talked about learning as a child to accept her dark-skinned beauty, said she hoped her success would inspire other youngsters.
“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every child, no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid,”
Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico and is of Kenyan descent, was honored for her film debut. Her parents are prominent in their own right: Her father, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, was an advocate for democratic reform in 20th-century Kenya and is now a senator, while her mother, Dorothy Nyong’o, is the director of the Africa Cancer Foundation.