The 2014 Oscars have come and gone, and several high-profile African American artists were among the winners. The big story of the night was “12 Years a Slave,” Steve McQueen’s harrowing look at one of the darkest periods in American history, which picked up the Academy Award for Best Picture.
While McQueen didn’t win for Best Director, “12 Years a Slave” won three Oscars, as stunning newcomer Lupita Nyong’o took home the Best Supporting Actress statue, and the film’s writer, John Ridley, grabbed Best Adapted Screenplay honors.
“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,” Nyong’o, who grew up in Kenya, said in her moving acceptance speech, referring to the film’s subject matter.
In the directing category, McQueen lost out to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, the man behind the camera for “Gravity.” The epic space film picked up six out of the 11 Oscars it had been nominated for, including Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.
Other notable people of color at the 2014 Oscars included Pharrell, whose rendition of the song “Happy” — from the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack — brought the house down, and Darlene Love, who wowed the crowd with some a cappella singing after “20 Feet From Stardom” won for Best Documentary Feature.
Going into the Best Supporting Actor category, all eyes were on Somalian-born success story Barkhad Abdi, who famously auditioned on a whim for “Captain Phillips” and wound up wowing Tom Hanks. Unfortunately, Abdi lost to Jared Leto, who made his cinematic return in “Dallas Buyers Club.”