9 of Lupita Nyong’o’s Best Movies to Enjoy Before You Buy Another Ticket to 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'

9 of Lupita Nyong’o’s Best Movies to Enjoy Before You Buy Another Ticket to 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'


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Lupita Nyong’o is famous for many things, and her on-screen work is just the start. She's a red carpet icon, a stage actor, a philanthropist and advocate for women’s and animal rights, a New York Times best selling author, we could truly go on! Nyong’o is also an Academy Award winner and has been nominated for two Emmys plus a Tony. Can anyone say future EGOT?

Nyong’o burst onto the Hollywood scene in 2013 in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, not long after earning a master’s degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama. She worked her way to the top, starting her career as a production assistant and earning roles in small-scale short films. Today, she is one of the most talented and well respected working actors in the industry. Here are some of her best movies.

Black Panther

This smash-hit from Marvel was released in 2018 and became one of the highest grossing films in recent history—and the fifth Marvel film and 33rd ever to surpass $1 billion in revenue. Nyong’o stars as Nakia, an undercover spy and former lover of Chadwick Boseman’s T'Challa.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This 2015 Star Wars chapter was a sequel to the 1983 Return of the Jedi. It stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and of course, Lupita Nyong’o. It is set 30 years after the preceding film, and Nyong’o plays Maz Kanata, a role she continues to reprise throughout the series.

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Queen of Katwe

This biographical sports drama stars Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo and follows the story of Phiona Mutesi, a girl from Uganda who masters the game of chess, working her way up to World Chess Olympiads and earning the title of Woman Candidate Master. Nyong’o and Oyelowo star as Phiona’s mother and chess coach.

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12 Years a Slave

Nyong’o’s breakout role came in 2013 in the award-winning 12 Years a Slave, for which she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The drama was adapted from the 1853 memoir of the same name, which follows the story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In case you’ve lost count of the many Star Wars movies that exist at this point, The Last Jedi is the second film in the franchise’s recent sequel trilogy, and the eighth episode of the nine-part "Skywalker saga." Nyong’o reprises her role as Maz Kanata in this iteration, which follows Rey (Daisy Ridley) on her search for Luke Skywalker’s mentorship.

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Us

Jordan Peele’s stunning follow-up to the smash hit (and Academy Award winning) Get Out, Us follows a family terrorized by their doppelgängers. Nyong’o leads the movie as Adelaide Wilson and her tether.

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The 355

In January, Nyong’o kicked off the year with a starring role in this spy thriller alongside Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, and Diane Kruger. They played a group of international spies working together to prevent World War III.

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The Jungle Book

The 2016 reboot of The Jungle Book follows the original story and features the voices of Nyong’o alongside Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, and Scarlett Johansson. Nyong’o voices Raksha, an Indian wolf and Mowgli’s adoptive mother.

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The long-awaited Black Panther sequel hit theaters this week and stars most of the original cast, save for Chadwick Boseman, who tragically passed away from colon cancer in August 2020. After his passing, Marvel elected not to recast another actor in the role of T’Challa, because honestly, who could do it? Chadwick Boseman is Black Panther, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is more than a sequel, it's a nod to his legacy.

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