There are very few people who haven’t heard of Lupita Nyong’o by now. She seems to have taken the film industry by storm. As an incredibly articulate, talented, Yale alum, it’s hard to ignore Nyong’o. As a prominent woman of Kenyan descent, she serves as a great role model for many women who aren’t used to seeing representations of themselves in popular media. The media has lauded her impeccable sense of style and her brilliant performance in 12 Years a Slave.
The film catalogues the story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man in the pre-Civil War United States. Northup is kidnapped and sold into slavery where he meets Patsey, who is played by Nyong’o. Patsey is a slave who has accrued the unwanted affection of her owner, Edwin Epps (played by Michael Fassbender). Nyong’o plays the character of Patsey wonderfully, with so much raw emotion at the right times. She is able to capture the complexities of Patsey with ease. From soft innocence to raging desperation, Nyong’o does it all.
After winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave, it seems that the sky is the limit for Nyong’o. Many opportunities should arise for an actress like her, but that is not always the case. After winning an Oscar for Best Actress in 2001, Halle Berry hasn’t done much award winning work. Other Oscar winners like Cuba Gooding Jr., Timothy Hutton and Catherine Zeta-Jones have yet to return to the Oscars after their first win. Hopefully this “Oscar curse” will not befall Nyong’o.