Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for best supporting actress in the Oscar award-winning best film 12 Years a Slave graciously. The former Yale student spoke so eloquently and many would say felt every word of her acceptance speech, holding back her tears. As she thanked everyone she could remember in the short amount of time given to appreciate every person that helped her achieve this milestone award from family, to director Steve McQueen, to production, and the list continues, what captured many viewers was her sincerity to children to believe their dreams are “valid.”
For those that watched her performance in 12 Years a Slave in the role of Patsey demonstrating rage, passion, vulnerability, and strength all rolled in one as her character asked for soap to be able to clean herself from days of not being able to bathe after working in the cotton fields; many of the Academy Award viewers wanted to cry when the clip was played. Reportedly in Time, Lupita Nyong’o, who is Kenyan, and has dual citizenship in Mexico, said there is a long history to her reaching that stage. She reported that she has so much joy in her that is based on the real pain of someone else’s. She went on to let the production behind the film 12 Year a Slave to know that the dead are surrounding them and thanking them.
Nyong’o celebrated winning a Screen Actors Guild award for the role of Patsey as well. According to Los Angeles Times, this was a clue to many she would win the Oscar. She has reportedly several accolades under her belt including the Broadcast Critics Award and awards in London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and the list continues. She’s given amazing on-stage performances in Uncle Vanya, The Winter’s Tale, and Taming of the Shrew. Reportedly, Lupita Nyong’o has an upcoming film project titled Non-Stop along side Liam Neeson. The Yale student, actress, and director is the example to younger generations that dreams are, indeed, valid.
Nyong’o, who many had never heard of until 12 Years a Slave, was the favorite in this year’s supporting actress category, beating out famed contenders. Gracing the stage in a custom blue Prada gown and diamond hair band that set off her rich complexion, Nyong’o was up against heavy hitting supporting actresses Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine, June Squibb for Nebraska, Oscar award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustler, and Oscar award-winning actress Julia Roberts for August: Osage County. NY Daily Times reported many felt it was going to be close between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o. Jennifer Lawrence, known for her role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games and for her Academy Award-winning performance in Silver Linings Playbook, has a very promising career, being nominated for an Oscar three times by the age 23. According to TMZ, Lawrence has been talking about taking a break from working.
Much of the public believes it is too soon to talk of taking a break because Lawrence is just reaching the top of her game. Many believe Lawrence knows she has many opportunities ahead in Hollywood. Lupita Nyong’o, however, might understand in Hollywood and black Hollywood this Oscar cannot be taken for granted. Many see the gold statue as a promise for longevity in an industry where the mentality is “here today…gone today.” Taking a break when the iron is hot is unheard of. Because in Hollywood, there is always another actress willing to work harder. There is always another actress determined to make her wildest dream “valid” in the land of make-believe.
Editorial by Meleika Gardner