From Slavery to the Oscars

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Some stories could not be more similar, yet more contrasting than that of the lead and supporting artistes of a movie. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o are the lead actor and supporting actress, respectively, of the film “12 YEARS A SLAVE”. Although, they are both black, and in the movie, got heavily embroiled in acting slaves, yet at the OSCARS, their fortunes were different.

To be recognized for an honor in acting, in the shade of an ACADEMY AWARDS (THE OSCARS), is very prestigious. Getting the nomination alone is a proof that the actor or actress has done outstandingly well. There will be a series of other amazing performances that will, without doubts, catch the eyes, nonetheless, grabbing a nomination takes the actor’s/actress’ performance some levels over others.

Winning is certainly out of this world. It is screamingly loud! It is the highest honor for any actor/actress. Even if there are tens of other awards, the OSCARS is a class above them. The glamour and the grand style of the American movie community are written all over it. Yearly, the world waits for this awards that gets THE HOLLYWOOD stands still. Whoever wins the awards from a nominated list earns a big boost to his/her acting career.

For Chiwetel Ejiofor, nominations and awards had come in variant shades in the past; about a century of nominations and some half of that figure in awards. He is an accomplished actor who had starred in enough big roles in high budget films. “12 YEARS A SLAVE” is just an extension to the list of the leading roles in movies to his credit. This British-born and trained actor is not a stranger to the limelight, neither is he to the movie world and cinema goers. This black boy is a familiar face; he is recognizable in the industry. His filmography is bulky and bulging with many titles. Ejiofor had leading roles in movies like “DIRTY PRETTY THING”,” TSUNAMI: THE AFTERMATH”, “RED BELT”, “ENDGAME” and so on. Supporting roles came in films like “SERENITY”, “CHILDREN OF MEN”,” TALK TO ME”, “AMERICAN GANGSTER”, “2012” and several others.

Ironically, he lost out on the OSCARS on the nomination for the best actor category. His performance received a lot acclaim and praise, though. On the movie alone, he got recognized in more than seventy different platforms. It yielded a little above half of that number’s winnings and countless nominations. But losing the OSCARS was perhaps, huge, because it could have been the icing on the cake.

Chiwetel Ejiofor was born to parents from Nigeria, in London. He grew up to like acting and had his education and acting trainings at different times at the following schools, Dulwich College, National Youth Theatre, and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, all in London. He had his first practical experiences on the stages acting Shakespearean roles, as it is the norm in London theaters.

Lupita Nyong’o came into the limelight without all the necessary prologues. She is devoid of all the many film performance credits that most past winners of the OSCARS were noted for. It is amazing that an actress on her first major movie outing would just go on to grab a win. The surprise does not end there: “12 YEARS A SLAVE” alone, garnered about fifty five nominations and some twenty-two wins.

The Kenyan-born actress graduated from Hampshire College with a degree in arts and theater studies. A master at Yale School of Drama followed later. She enjoyed stages performances on some dram pieces that include Gertrude Stein’s “Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights”, Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”, and William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Winter’s Tale”.

Getting a supporting actor role on the cast of “12 YEARS A SLAVE” is a huge breakthrough for Lupita, no doubt. Her magnificent performance has brought fame. Hollywood is surely at her beck and call. Star roles will keep coming and money, too, will stream in, in millions. Already, she has been invited to many talk shows across the length and breadth of the GOD’S OWN COUNTRY. The Academy Awards does a lot of magical things. The lives of actors and actresses are not always the same after winning it.

Taking a deep look at these artistes’ backgrounds, there are very interfering similarities. Right from the African root to the choice of the same career- acting. It culminated in the two being cast on the same film with slavery as the theme. What a series of coincidences! Both, also, had commanding performances that brought many honors and accolades. That was the point it ended.

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