Lupita Nyong’o – A Role Model to Emulate

I can’t control my emotions. When a certain song, performance and/or speech moves me, tears flow down my face. You would think that I would be more prepared by having tissues readily available. I never do. My daughters wonder why I am crying and I just say that “I’m happy for (so and so).”

I embrace all facets of performances: plays, musicals, concerts, movies… Is it because I secretly yearned to be a performer in a past life? I don’t think so. I probably would be better off as a producer or editor, on the sidelines, putting it all together (unrecognized).

Awards season for actors culminated and officially ended at the 86th Academy Awards this past Sunday. I watched all the awards shows and tried to see as many nominated movies as I could.

The art form of film/cinema/movies is overshadowed by dresses, hair, makeup, jewels, social media, press… OVEREXPOSURE. I do enjoy all the pomp and circumstance (up to a point) but you can tell that even the actors are losing steam. If one is fortunate enough to be a favorite in their category and has won multiple awards, how does one say something different from the last speech? The actor is exposed and cannot hide behind the script written for him/her. He/she has 5 minutes to convey who he/she really is. Who truly inspires from the inside, outside of the characters they are playing?

In Cate Blanchett’s acceptance speech for her Oscar for Best Actress for Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”, she remarked, “Thank you so much to the Academy. As random and as subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year of extraordinary, yet again, extraordinary performances by women.” She’s right, it is random and subjective. It’s a popularity contest. We can all learn from Ms. Blanchett’s strength, elegance and grace. Well deserved.

The standout at each award show was the ingénue, Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo, #lupitanyongo). Originally from Nairobi, Kenya, she attended Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, then later continued on to study at the Yale School of Drama. Her role as Patsy in “12 Years a Slave” was her very first movie. Even if you have not seen the movie, you fall in love with her infectious spirit of genuine gratitude and regal eloquence. Jennifer Lawrence may be talented and the most popular, but she could never be as naturally graceful as Ms. Nyong’o. At the end of her inspiring Oscar speech for Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years a Slave”, she said, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

A week prior to her moving Oscar speech, she accepted the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. Warning: you may experience uncontrollable tears with this incredible inspirational acceptance speech of her definition of beauty. “What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful is COMPASSION for yourself and for those around you.”

Congratulations to Ms. Nyong’o for all the accolades and becoming a role model for all around the world. Looking forward to your storytelling in films.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show


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