'12 Years a Slave' Makes History at the 2014 Oscars

This is the first time that a film by a black director has won best picture.
3:00 | 03/03/14

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Transcript for '12 Years a Slave' Makes History at the 2014 Oscars
And next, now, we turn to Hollywood's biggest night last night. The oscars 43 million Americans tuned in to the academy awards. The biggest audience in a decade. And we all saw history made. For the first time, a movie by a black director took best picture. And a newcomer from that film electrified the night. Here's ABC's David Wright. Reporter: For a movie about one of America's darkest chapters -- Come here. "12 years a slave." Reporter: A night to grab the Oscar and jump for joy. Steve Mcqueen celebrating the fact he is the first black director ever to have his movie honored as best picture. And the Oscar goes to, Lupita nyong'o. Reporter: And the it girl last night, radiant in robin's egg blue and poised to perfection, best supporting actress, Lupita nyong'o. Thank you to the academy for this incredible recognition. 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. Reporter: She's from Kenya, but born in Mexico, where her father, a Kenyan politician, was briefly in exile. The oscars were way too out there for me to begin to dream about. This is not a world I was aiming to be a part of. But I'm happy to be here. I got this from Mr. Shaw. Reporter: "12 years a slave," her movie debut. Flashback 75 years to another black actress who also played a slave. Hattie Mcdaniel, in "Gone with the wind," the first black academy award winner. I sincerely hope I will always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel. And may I say thank you. And god bless you. Reporter: That speech, all the more poignant because she had to sit in the back at a segregated table. Last night, Lupita nyong'o was right up there in front. Even dancing with pharrell. "Happy" to have arrived. Hollywood's newest star. David Wright, ABC news, los Angeles. And later in this broadcast, our annual awards for the best moments at the ceremony.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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