On Sunday, March 2, The Oscars premiered on the local ABC channel at 7:30 pm. The Oscars was hosted by stand-up comedian, actress, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. She definitely brought the laughs to the room of full of thousands of celebrities and fans. Throughout the show, DeGeneres found a significant amount of time to take cell phone “selfies” during the show. One she took of herself gazing into the beautiful audience, and another with herself and other celebrity audience members. Ellen kept the show in a light atmosphere with her jokes about previous Oscar show mishaps and her undeniable, natural sense of humor. There were countless Oscars awarded by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last night, but only one win made history.
The film “12 Years a Slave” directed by Steve McQueen and produced by Brad Pitt won an Oscar for Best Picture making it the first film with a black director to win Best Picture. There has only been a few other nominations of African American directors in the category in the past, which shows how important and historic the win for “12 Years A Slave” was. A few of the films and directors include Quincy Jones for “The Color Purple,” Broderick Johnson for “The Blind Side,” Lee Daniels for “Precious,” and Reginald Hudlin for “Django Unchained.” The win for “12 Years A Slave” broke the 86-year chain of no black man winning in the Best Picture category at the Oscars. Latino Alfonso Cuarón made history as well by winning Best Director for the film Gravity.
The film “12 Years A Slave” is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir “12 Years A Slave” by Solomon Northup. He worked as a fiddle player and a carpenter. Northup was a free man in New York who was drugged and kidnapped by slave traders in Washington, D.C. in 1841. After being kidnapped, he was sold into slavery. Northup woke up in chains, was renamed Platt and was shipped to work on plantations in Louisiana for 12 years. He tried countless times to get white visitors to mail his letters to his family in New York informing them of his abduction. He was finally successful after he meets a Canadian laborer who was completely against slavery, because he delivered his letter to New York. Then one day the local sheriff came to rescue Northup and return him back to New York with his family after 12 years being a slave. Solomon Northup’s story is inspirational, and full of hope. There is no denying the story turned into a film is Best Picture, Oscar winning worthy by The Academy.
Steve McQueen reflected on the historic win backstage saying, “Obviously, it’s a mark of development. It’s just obviously a progression. The background characters are now in the foreground and their lives are being recognized in a way, more ever than before. I think people are ready for this narrative. People want to look at this history. If we don’t know our past, we’ll never know our future.” Producer Brad Pitt was also very proud about the films win and success. The actress Lupita Nyong’o who portrays Patsey in the film “12 Years A Slave” won Best Supporting Actress last night as well. The many Oscar’s that the film gained from The Academy last night is the evidence of it’s brilliance, and award winning presentation of the biography of Solomon Northup. The award is well deserved, and represents a milestone of diversity for The Academy in the years to come.