12 years a Slave is this year’s Best Picture. The moving drama, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, won the top honor at the Academy Awards on Sunday evening, capping off an awards season filled with accolades.
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” McQueen said in his speech after accepting the award from presenter Will Smith. “This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all of the people who have endured slavery and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.”
Lupita Nyong’o, who co-starred as the slave Patsey in the film, also won Best Supporting Actress, while the film’s writer John Ridley took home the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay.
McQueen, who was up for an historic win in the Best Director category, ended up losing the award to Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaròn. Nonetheless, 12 Years a Slave made history — it’s the first film with a predominately Black cast to win Best Picture.
Other notable wins included Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor and Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor in Dallas Buyer’s Club, and Cate Blanchett for Best Actress in Blue Jasmine. 20 Feet From Stardom won Best Documentary Feature, with the film’s subject Darlene Love on hand to accept the award along with the filmmakers. Love thrilled the star-studded crowd with by singing a few bars a capella during her acceptance speech. Plus, the show featured excellent performances from Bette Midler, P!nk and Pharrell Williams.
Williams, who was up for Best Original Song for his infectious hit “Happy,” ultimately lost the award to Frozen’s “Let It Go.”