'12 Years A Slave' wins best picture Oscar

'12 Years A Slave' wins best picture Oscar

Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave", a film that unflinchingly portrays America's slave past, won the top prize of the best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

Based on Solomon Northup's 1853 memoir, the difficult-to-watch film has been hailed for its honest portrayal of one of the darkest chapters in American history, something that has been missing in Hollywood cinema for a long time.

Producer-director McQueen, 44, who lost the best director trophy to "Gravity" helmer Alfonso Cuaron, dedicated the honor to those who suffered slavery and "the 21 million who still endure slavery today.

"Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup," the director said as he was presented the Oscar night's top award by actor Will Smith.

The win marks the first time a film directed by a black filmmaker has won best picture. "12 Years A Slave", produced by Brad Pitt's production company, Plan B, made USD 50 million at the box-office.

"I speak for everyone behind me that it has been an absolute privilege to work on Solomon Northup's story and we all are standing up here tonight because of one man, who brought us all together to tell that story and that's Steve McQueen," Pitt said

The film triumphed over the other eight nominees -- "American Hustle", "Captain Phillips", "Dallas Buyers Club", "Gravity", "Her", "Nebraska", "Philomena" and "The Wolf of Wall Street".

The film was also a winner in the best supporting actress category with the honour going to newcomer Lupita Nyong'o. Its other award of the night came in the Adapted screenplay category for John Ridley.

With some of the best performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o, the film revolves around  Northup's (played by Ejiofor), a free black man living with his wife and children in New York in 1841. He is tricked, kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Sent to Louisiana, he experiences violence and degradation of life as a slave while clinging to the hope that he will regain his freedom someday.

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