Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o bagged her first award on Monday night at the 17th Hollywood Film Awards held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles California.
Ms Nyongo who was rubbing shoulders with the crème de la crème of the film industry, was honoured with the New Hollywood Award for her breakout role in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave which debuted in select theatres in the US, UK and Canada over the weekend.
The Hollywood Film Awards ceremony is considered as the first stop of the award season and plenty of A-Listers packed the full banquet room.
The newly minted Hollywood wonder girl was introduced by actress Angela Bassett who paid glowing tribute to the newcomer.
Ms Bassett said that movie goers will be treated to a “breakthrough performance that they will not soon forget"
Ms Nyong’o has been billed as one of the top contenders for the best supporting actress Oscar award.
The actress broke down in tears as she made her acceptance speech thanking Ms Bassett for her kind words and all those who had made the moment possible.
“As you can tell, I am terribly overwhelmed, but I also feel extremely blessed by all this,” Ms Nyongo said tearfully.
The audience erupted in applause when Nyong’o thanked her mother who was also in attendance.
“And to my family especially my mummy who is here with me today, words cannot express how grateful I am for always believing in me,” she said emotionally.
Towards the end of her speech which very well received, she broke down again while thanking the film director Steve McQueen for giving her the opportunity to be a part of the film.
“..And now Steve…..I will never forget this opportunity you’ve created for me. Your thoughtful and complex direction will stay with me always. I love you,” she said fighting through tears.
McQueen was honored with the Hollywood Breakout Director Award.
EERIE LOVE TRIANGLE
She also recounted her first rehearsal when one of the lead actors Michael Fassbender turned to her and told her “you are my peer.” And standing here now, I truly feel that,” Nyong’o concluded.
Fassbender plays the role of Edwin Epps, a brutal plantation owner who is obsessed with Patsey (Lupita Nyong'o), the slave who picks more cotton each day than any other slave and whom he regularly rapes. Edwin's wife (Sarah Paulson) becomes aware of their ''relationship'' and the situation blows up into eerie “love” triangle.
Other honorees at the award ceremony included Sandra Bullock ("Gravity"), Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club") and Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County") .
12 Years a Slave opened in 19 theatres across Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Atlanta and Toronto, Canada on Friday.
It will be released to additional cities namely Boston, Dallas/Fortworth, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia and Baltimore on October 25.
It will be released in all US cities on November 1.