Lupita Nyong'o has won the best supporting actress Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards for her role in 12 Years a Slave, defeating a field that included Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine and American Hustle's Jennifer Lawrence.
Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Kenya, played Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, her first film acting role; her most memorable scene was one in which she receives a flogging for wanting to wash with soap. The film was directed by Steve McQueen, and based on the real-life memoir of kidnap victim Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor); it also starred Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch.
In a moving acceptance speech, Nyong'o said: "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" – the slaves whose story was told in Solomon Northup's memoir on which the film was based.
She thanked her co-stars and her director Steve McQueen, saying: "Thank you for putting me in this position; it has been the joy of my life … I'm certain that the dead are standing around you and saluting you."
She concluded with a message to children everywhere: "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."
The Academy Awards are taking place at the Dolby theatre in Los Angeles, and are being hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.
It will be of note that Nyong’o became popular on the African TV screens with her role as Ayira in the MTV base Staying Alive HIV/AIDS Campaign TV series Shuga.