Ending months of tense debate as to whether "American Hustle" star Jennifer Lawrence would be a back-to-back Oscar winner or whether lovely "12 Years a Slave" ingenue Lupita Nyong'o would complete her Cinderella story on the Academy's stage, it was the former taking home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and on her first major film, no less.

Nyong'o's performance as Patsey in Steve McQueen's gripping slavery drama has captured the industry's heart for much of the season. She also won the Screen Actors Guild and Critics' Choice awards for her work.

"Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition," Nyong'o said in acceptance. "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, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And to Solomon, thanks for telling her story."

Clutching her prize emotionally, clad in a beautiful baby blue gown for the evening that is just one in a line of eye-popping colorful ensembles for the actress, she continued: "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me of every little child that no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid."

"12 Years a Slave" is nominated for nine Oscars total, including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Picture.