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KENYAN ACTRESS LUPITA NYONGO TAKING OVER HOLLYWOOD

Gerald Langiri
September 09 / 2013

Lupita Nyong'o was born in Mexico, to Kenyan parents, and was raised primarily in Kenya. Her father, the politician Anyang' Nyong'o, is the former Minister for Medical Services and was elected in 2013 to represent Kisumu County in the Kenyan Senate. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago and taught in Mexico and Ethiopia before taking a position at the University of Nairobi, where he is a Professor of Political Science.

Nyong'o attended university in the United States. After graduating from Hampshire College with a a degree in film and theatre studies,she studied acting at the Yale School of Drama.At Yale she appeared in many stage productions, including Gertrude Stein's Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights, Anton Chekov's Uncle Vanya, and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale.

After graduation, she worked on the production crew of many films, including Fernando Mereilles The Constant Gardener and Mira Nair's The Namesake. She returned to Kenya in 2008 and starred in the Kenyan television series Shuga. In 2009, she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes, about the treatment of Kenya's albino population. She made her American film debut in British director Steve McQueen's upcoming film, 12 Years a Slave.

KENYAN ACTRESS LUPITA NYONGO TAKING OVER HOLLYWOOD

She is receiving rave reviews for her role in the movie 12 Years a slave after the film’s worldwide premiere at the Galaxy Theaters in the Tulleride Film Festival in Colorado early this month.

Several US movie critics have also gone out of their way to predict an Oscar nod for the film and for Ms Nyong’o with most agreeing that the actress has a bright future ahead of her in Hollywood. The film, which is two hours and fourteen minutes long, created a huge buzz at the festival and many critics predicted it is going to hit the US in a “big way” when it is released in the US on October 18th due to its harsh indictment of the slavery era in the country.

The movie is based on the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841. Critics consider Ejiofor as a leading contender for the best actor award at the Oscars. The film also features famed actor Brad Pitt, actress Andre Woodard and Quvenzhané Wallis, the 10- year-old actress who played the role of Hushpuppy in the critically acclaimed drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild.

KENYAN ACTRESS LUPITA NYONGO TAKING OVER HOLLYWOOD

In a movie review by The Hollywood Reporter, Ms Nyong’o is named as one of the possible front-runners for an Oscar in the best supporting actress role. She is up against alongside Hollywood heavy hitters who include Oprah Winfrey (for her role as Lee Daniels in “The Butler), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), Naomi Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) and Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle).

In another major entertainment magazine Variety.com, movie critic Peter Debrudge also had a high praise for Miss Nyongo’s performance. He writes; “For sheer productivity, none of the slaves comes close to Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o), a soft-spoken beauty of whom Epps is especially fond, much to the consternation of his severe wife (Sarah Paulson).…” he wrote.

“Actresses like Nyong’o don’t come along often, and she’s a stunning discovery amidst an ensemble that carves out room for proven talents such as Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard and Brad Pitt to shine,” he concludes.

In another review in the Los Angeles Times, Ms Nyong’o is described as staging a breakout performance.

According to HotFix.com another movie review website, Ms Nyongo is said to have “eloquently convinced the audience why her character sees death as her only viable escape.”

“It’s the film’s breakthrough performance and may find Nyong’o making her way to the Dolby Theater (where the Academy/Oscar Awards are held) next March,” the website adds.

In June, the Director of the movie Steve McQueen said of Lupita Nyongo: “a star is born.”

Kenyans will in February 2014 see Ms Nyong’o in another Hollywood movie Non-Stop which is an action thriller featuring Liam Neeson who starred in the movies Taken and Unknown.

Get updates about Lupita on her facebook page here.

Source: Daily Nation.

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