Former Goldsmiths student Steve McQueen took home the Best Picture Oscar award at the Academy Awards on Sunday March 2.
McQueen, along with producer Brad Pitt, won the award for their film 12 Years a Slave. Other nominated films for the award included American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club and Gravity.
McQueen’s film, an adaptation of an American slave’s memoir, has already won a BAFTA for Best Film, and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture.
McQueen was clearly moved when he went on stage to receive the award:
“I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today. Thank you very much. Thank you.”
“Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” McQueen said in his speech.
The Oscar winner grew up in West London and received his BA in fine art at Goldsmiths. He made his first films at Goldsmiths, and in 1999, six years after graduating, he won the Turner Prize.
“I was painting at Goldsmiths and then I stopped at the end of my first year and just stuck with the camera,” McQueen told Art Monthly.
Patrick Loughrey, Warden of Goldsmiths, said: “This really shows that Goldsmiths is one of, if not the, leading creative university in the UK. Our graduates are reinventing, reinvigorating, and remastering the world around us. This is why Goldsmiths is such an exciting place to be.”
McQueen has made Oscar history — he is the first black director to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, which is the award show’s highest honor.
12 Years a Slave also won two other awards on Sunday. Best Adapted Screenplay went to writer John Ridley, while Lupita Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Patsey.
Although McQueen’s filmography is composed of mostly short films, 12 Years a Slave is the director’s third feature film, after Shame and Hunger.