The highlight of the night so far was Lupita Nyong'o winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Not only was her win well deserved and well received — Chiwetel Efiofor had tears in his eyes. Liza Minnelli jumped up to hug her. The crowd gave her a standing ovation — but the speech itself brought half the internet to tears. She thanked the spirit of Patsey, her character in 12 Years a Slave. "It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey and thank her for her guidance. And to Solomon, thank you for telling her story as well as your own."
She thanks the cinematographer and other "invisible performers" behind the scenes people who helped make the film possible, Steve McQueen who "charge[s] everything you touch with a breath of your own spirit," Ejiofor for being fearless and Michael Fassbender for being her rock. But it was her closing line that really hit it home for everyone out there rooting for her:
When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from your dreams are valid.
Here's the full speech:
Yes! Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own. Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position. This has been the joy of my life. I’m certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I.
Chiwetel, thank you for your fearlessness and how deeply you went into telling Solomon’s story. Michael Fassbender, thank you so much. You were my rock. Alfre and Sarah, it was a thrill to work with you. Joe Walker, the invisible performer in the editing room, thank you. Sean Bobbitt, Kalaadevi, Adruitha, Patty Norris, thank you, thank you, thank you, I could not be here without your work.
I want to thank my family for your training and the Yale School of Drama as well for your training. My friends, the Wilsons, this one’s for you. My brother, Junior, sitting by my side. Thank you so much. You are my best friend. And Ben, my other best friend, my chosen family.
When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.