At the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd newcomer Lupita Nyong’o won the best supporting actress Oscar for her film debut as slave worker Patsey in “12 Years a Slave,” the harrowing historical drama which won the award for best picture.
The Mexico City-born, Kenyan-raised actress paid tribute to her character and thanked her for her “guidance”: “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,” said the 31-year-old.
Rising star Lupita Nyong’o also won an Independent Spirit award on March 1st for her debut movie role.
Kenyan President Uhurua Kenyatta sent a congratulatory message to Lupita Nyong’o before the Oscars. He said Lupita’s achievements should demonstrate to Kenyans, especially the youth, that everything is possible with hard work and determination.
Meanwhile the first ever Egyptian film to be nominated for an Academy Award has never been screened in its home country, it would appear. The film has been released internationally to widespread acclaim, but in Egypt the only way for people to watch is on YouTube, where it has not been blocked by the authorities.
Al Midan (The Square) tells the story of the Egyptian revolution, and seems to have been suppressed because of its critical depiction of the Egyptian army’s role in politics after the 2011 uprising, Egypt analysts say. However, the authorities maintain the film has been held up for administrative reasons, claiming the producers had not filed the correct paperwork.
The film, nominated in the best documentary feature category, follows three activists, from their initial joy after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, to disillusionment at the ouster of Mohammed Morsi in 2013. “It’s a kind of politics disguised in bureaucracy,” says producer Karim Amer, the Voices of Africa website reports. Magdy Ashour, one of the film’s protagonists, had his house raided by police because he was a member of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.
A potential presidential bid by military chief of staff Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has only made prospects of a commercial release for the film in Egypt even less likely.