Nairobi, Kenya – Kenyan actress Lupita Amondi Nyong’o won on Sunday night the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards held in Los Angeles, US, for her much-acclaimed role in the movie ’12 years a slave’.
Lupita, 31, is the first Kenyan to be nominated and win an Oscar.
Also, she becomes only the seventh black woman ever to scoop an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress since the Awards started in 1929.
She beat her main competitor for the award, Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for her role in the movie ”American Hustle”.
Lupita, who studied at the prestigious Yale University in the US, received her award to a standing ovation.
“As I look down this Oscar, I hope that every child knows that no matter where you come from, Your dreams are valid,” she said.
The Mexican-born daughter of Kenyan politician Anyang Nyong’o has been hailed for redefining fashion and red-carpet appearances, as well as her humility, since her landmark Oscar nomination.
She went further to redefine an African dream with a powerful acceptance speech, hailing her humble Afro-Mexican background.
Lupita’s Oscar award wraps up the 2013 film awards season in which she won more than 60 per cent of the awards nominations. During the season, she won 27 awards out of 42 nominations.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has led his compatriots to praise Lupita for her win, while many Kenyans have taken to the social media to pour accolades on the actress.
Fashion photojournalist Felix Masi wrote: “The journey to success is never meant to be easy but Lupita proved my dream that Kenya is the face of success in Africa where people of all shapes and sizes can stand tall.”
Lupita, who was born in Mexico where her father had fled to escape political persecution in the 1980s, embraced local theatre, where his father was a regular enthusiast.
The movie that fetched Lupita fame perhaps more than any Kenyan alive today is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free negro who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery.
He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for twelve years before his release.
The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars, is an annual American awards ceremony honoring achievements in the film industry.
Winners are awarded the statuette, officially the Academy Award of Merit, that is much better known by its nickname Oscar.