British director Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years A Slave has won the best picture award at this year’s Oscars.
In one of the most hotly contested competitions of recent years, the film beat eight fellow nominees – American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street.
McQueen thanked his wife, who first showed him a copy of the original book, for “unearthing this treasure” and his parents before dedicating the win to “everyone who has endured slavery and 21 million who still do today”.
Lupita Nyong’o won the best supporting actress prize for her role as Patsey in the 19th century drama.
The Mexico-born star, who is of Kenyan descent, paid tribute to McQueen who she said charged “everything with the breath of your own spirit”.
She thanked her co-stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender and said: “I’m a little dazed. I can’t believe this is in my hands. I can’t believe this is real life.”
Ejiofor lost out in the lead actor category to Matthew McConaughey who was named best actor for his portrayal of an Aids activist in Dallas Buyers Club.
His co-star Jared Leto won the first award of the night after being named best supporting actor..
The star beat Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Jonah Hill and Barkhad Abdi after playing an HIV-positive transgender woman in the film.
After accepting the award from Anne Hathaway, Leto paid tribute to his mother and said: “To all the dreamers out there … in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say, we are here. And as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight… see more