Lupita Nyong'o on her Calvin Klein Dress, Star Wars and Diversity in Hollywood

Photo: Getty Images

Lupita Nyong’o’s custom Calvin Klein dress was one of our favorites yesterday at the Oscars. The white gown was built with 6,000 pearls, a design process in which Nyong’o got to be involved. “It was so much fun to create this dress,” she said yesterday on the red carpet. “We talked about it being fluid and liquid. I wanted it to be an homage to the sea.” She wasn’t nervous about losing a pearl – yet. “I’ve only been wearing for a few minutes,” Nyong’o said. “At the end of the night, we’ll see how many I’ve kept on. But they’re sewn on quite tightly.”

The actress, who won Best Supporting Actress last year for 12 Years A Slave, said it was relief to come to the Oscars without being nominated. “I can’t believe it’s come around again,” she said, noting that she can’t really remember last year’s awards since they were such a blur. “I’m really happy to be here and the pressure is off me and it’s on someone else.” She laughed and added, “My heart goes out to them.”

Since winning last year Nyong’o has appeared in Non-Stop with Liam Neeson and been cast in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as The Jungle Book. “I’ve a big difference in my life,” she said of life post-Oscar. But that doesn’t mean she was willing to spill about Star Wars, in which she has an unknown role. “Keeping the secrets of Star Wars is easy,” she said. “I just shut my mouth.”

When asked about the fact that this year’s nominees lack some diversity, Nyong’o simply said she feels good about how far movies have come. “Being part of a such a powerful film as 12 Years A Slave and looking at the history of black representation in cinema, I know we’ve come a very long way,” she said. “There’s always room for more. There’s always room for growth. I’m just excited and inspired to make more films.”

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