Was there any bigger light in 2014 than Lupita Nyong'o? The unknown actress emerged like a breath of fresh air in Hollywood, so our menorah wouldn't be right without her. Take a look back at Lupita's awesome year.
We Celebrate Her Chutzpah: Nyong'o was neck and neck with Jennifer Lawrence all awards season long, but it was the 12 Years a Slave star who came out victorious in the Best Supporting Actress Oscar race. And who thought it possible that someone could even be Lawrence's equal when it came to turning on the charm? The 31-year-old was simply irresistible during her time on stage.
"Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. 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," she said during her acceptance speech. "Steve McQueen, you charge everything you fashion with a breath of your own spirit. Thank you so much for putting me in this position, it's been the joy of my life. I'm certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I." After an emotional speech, Lupita concluded with the following sentiments, "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. Thank you."
Did we mention 12 Years a Slave was Lupita's first movie… ever? Way to make an entrance into Hollywood. Next up for the beauty is a little movie called Star Wars.
We Celebrate Her Mitzvoth: As Lupita stepped into the limelight, she did so knowing that being a role model came with it. The actress did not shy away from the power that her new platform gave her. Take, for example, her speech at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood event:
"I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty. Black beauty. Dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I'd like to share just a small part of it with you: 'Dear Lupita,' it reads, 'I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia's Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.' My heart bled a little when I read those words. I could never have guessed that my first job out of school would be so powerful in and of itself and that it would propel me to be such an image of hope in the same way that the women of The Color Purple were to me.
"I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful," she continued. "You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What does sustain us... what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul … And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty."
We Celebrate the Miracle of Lupita: The woman went from no list to A-List in a matter of months. And isn't Hollywood better with Lupita in it? Certainly the red carpets are. Aside from her acting accolades, Lupita was named People's Most Beautiful, graced the cover of Vogue, was named the new face of Miu Miu, was one of Glamour's Women of the Year, and topped every Best Dressed list for three months.
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