Tag: Academy Award Winner

Lupita Nyong’o Covers Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year 2014 Issue

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Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o has been on a roll in 2014; in February, the actress won an Oscar for “12 Years a Slave” and has subsequently been popping up on “best dressed” and “most beautiful” lists ever since, in addition to becoming a beauty ambassador for Lancome and landing a role in the upcoming “Star Wars” reboot by JJ Abrams.

Nevertheless, in her interview with Glamour magazine, she tells the magazine the attention she’s received has been overwhelming.  “Right now I’m still adjusting. I guess I feel catapulted into a different place; I have a little whiplash,” she said. “I did have a dream to be an actress, but I didn’t think about being famous. And I haven’t yet figured out how to be a celebrity; that’s something I’m learning, and I wish there were a course on how to handle it.”

She couldn’t even imagine what winning the Oscar would be like, she observed.

“I don’t think I will ever be able to really articulate how bizarre it was to hear my name at the Academy Awards. I’d watched in my pajamas the year before!” she said. “I felt numb — dazed and confused. I remember feeling light — weightless. More like limbo than cloud nine.”

Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico of Kenyan parents, mentions that she didn’t know success on this level would be possible for a woman with darker skin.  For her, Oprah Winfrey wasn’t just a role model but a “reference point,” and seeing Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg in “The Color Purple” was key to her belief that she could become successful.

She hopes she can have the same effect on people who see her.

“I’ve heard people talk about images in popular culture changing, and that makes me feel great, because it means that the little girl I was, once upon a time, has an image to instill in her that she is beautiful, that she is worthy,” she said. “Until I saw people who looked like me, doing the things I wanted to, I wasn’t so sure it was a possibility.”

The December issue of Glamour will be available on newsstands November 11.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Lupita Nyong’o Named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Person of 2014

Lupita Nyong'oAcademy Award-Winner Lupita Nyong’o, whose speech on beauty went viral a few months ago, graces this week’s cover of People Magazine, which celebrates the “50 Most Beautiful” People of 2014.

England’s Duchess Kate Middleton and fellow Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence were also considered for the honor, but Nyong’o was named Most Beautiful, as was revealed this morning on the Today Show (click link to see video).

Nyong’o says of the cover: “It was exciting and just a major, major compliment…I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”

The 31-year-old actress, whose powerful portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years A Slave had Hollywood buzzing, became the 2014 red carpet season’s “It” girl. And, although she was recently named the latest Lancome ambassador, Nyong’o prefers “when I have been called beautiful without one drop of makeup on.”

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Lupita Nyong’o Lands Lucrative Deal at Lancôme; Becomes Brand’s 1st Black Beauty Ambassador

Lupita Nyong'o. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
Lupita Nyong’o. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

Lupita Nyong’o is having a banner year.  Almost a month after winning the Academy Award, Nyong’o has landed a big-time beauty endorsement deal with Lancôme and is now the new face of the cosmetics line.  The deal marks a milestone moment that acknowledges Nyong’o as the beauty brand’s first black ambassador.

“I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancôme, a brand with such a prestigious history and that I have always loved,” the 31-year-old said in a statement. “I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself.”

The Hollywood “It” girl now joins a roster of other big celebrities who have signed on as a Lancome brand ambassador, such as Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts and Penelope Cruz.

But perhaps the more significant league of women Nyong’o now joins is the small but growing group of black women whose beauty has also attracted the lure of billion-dollar cosmetic companies.

Halle Berry was one of the most notable women to first land a lucrative beauty endorsement in 2004 – a deal she made shortly after winning the Oscar that year.  Beyoncé, Queen Latifah, Janelle Monae, Rihanna, Kerry Washington and Gabrielle Union are just a few other names of beautiful black women who have signed on to similar deals.

These women represent a growing number of African-American females whose allure has advocated for these brands’ premiere products.  Nyong’o is now one of these few yet celebrated women. She has been praised for her delectable taste in fashion and stunning looks which reflect a unique combination often not seen nor praised enough in mainstream America.

article by Lilly Workneh via thegrio.com

Oscar Winner Mo’Nique Returns To Screen In Independent Film “Blackbird”

Mo'Nique 2009 OscarsIn her first screen starring turn since the ferocious portrayal as an abusive mother in 2009′s Precious won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, Mo’Nique has joined Isaiah Washington in the Patrik-Ian Polk-directed Blackbird, an adaptation of the novel by Larry Duplechan. Washington took the lead in this indie last fall off his starring role as the DC sniper in Blue Caprice earned him a Gotham Award nomination. The film just shot in Hattiesburg, MS.

is__130909161142Mo’Nique is also executive producer with her husband, Sidney Hicks, through Hicks Media. Newcomer Julian Walker plays the star singer in the church choir who feels like a misfit in his high school and struggles with his sexual awakening and the realization he is gay, something that doesn’t land well in a religiously conservative small Mississippi town. This coincides with his younger sister going missing and his parents splitting up. Mo’Nique plays another character who’s not going to win mother of the year awards: the youth’s heartbroken mom, who blames her son’s lifestyle revelation for his sister going missing. Washington plays his supportive father trying his best to help his son’s transition to manhood.

Blackbird is a film about the choices people are forced to make as they struggle to figure out how to be themselves,” Hicks said. “And why should just being who you are be a struggle? Since Mo’Nique won the Oscar, we have received a flood of scripts, but nothing captured our attention until Isaiah — who we have a high level of respect for — sent us Blackbird. We became instant fans of Patrik-Ian Polk and knew we had to get behind this important film.”

Polk is producing through Tall Skinny Black Boy Productions, Keith Brown through Kbiz Entertainment, Washington through his Coalhouse Productions, and Carol Ann Shine. Terrell Tilford, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Laamar, Nikki Jane and D. Woods round out the cast. Worldwide sales for the film are being handled by Hicks Media and attorney Ricky Anderson of Anderson & Smith.

article by Mike Fleming Jr. via Deadline.com

Forest Whitaker To Play Colin Powell in Feature Film

Forest Whitaker arrives at the premiere of the movie 'The Butler' during the 39th Deauville American Festival on August 30, 2013 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)
Forest Whitaker arrives at the premiere of the movie ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ during the 39th Deauville American Festival on August 30, 2013 in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)

Forest Whitaker is on a real winning streak.  This year his leading role in the blockbuster Lee Daniels’ The Butler is generating serious Oscar buzz, and now he has reportedly signed on to play former Secretary of State Colin Powell in an upcoming biopic.  Actor Jeffrey Wright previously played Powell in Oliver Stone’s 2008 film W, but the influential Republican has never had a standalone film of his own.

According to the A.V. Club, the new movie, entitled Powell, will “focus on that pivotal moment of Powell’s 2002 speech to the U.N., in which he dramatically claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and sacrificed his sterling reputation in the service of Bush’s desire to invade at all costs.”

The intended release date and the rest of the cast are currently unknown.

article via thegrio.com

Mo’Nique Talks to Spelman Students About Healthy Living

(Photo: Derrick Salters/WENN.com)

This week, Academy Award-winning actress Mo’Nique took the stage with other dynamic women to talk to Spelman College’s students about obesity and its health-related issues. The event, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Conversations With Wise Women,” is part of Spelman’s push to better the health of its Black women on campus.

Mo’Nique talked about how for years she embraced her large size, believing it was an act of resistance against a culture that tells women that skinnier is better and fat shames those who don’t fit into that mold. She also talked about how Black women are encouraged to be thick in our community.  But on stage, she told the crowd that her husband made her realize the reality — she weighed too much. The Washington Post wrote:

When her husband asked her weight, she told him, “proudly, as sexy as I could, ‘262 pounds.’”  When her husband responded, “That’s too much,” Mo’Nique was dumbstruck. Until he added, “I want you for a lifetime.”

No loved one had ever told her, “That’s too much weight.” Deeply moved, Mo’Nique reflected on all she secretly carried that was “too much”: too much depression, too much anger, too much shifting the “poison” of her rage onto others. Her “best advice” to Spelman students: Shush the “fraudulent” inner voice that suggests you settle for less. “Will yourself to win.”

Since that day, Mo’Nique embarked on a fitness journey and lost a total of 70 pounds with the help of regular workouts with her trainer, cutting out junk food and eating healthier. And these are exactly the types of messages that Spelman wants for its students to hear.

Continue reading “Mo’Nique Talks to Spelman Students About Healthy Living”

Octavia Spencer Gives New Filmmakers the Chance to Compete

Now that she’s got the platform, Octavia Spencer is utilizing her celebrity to reach other young stars in the making.

The actress announced on her Facebook fanpage that she’s launching an opportunity for young filmmakers to compete to follow their dreams on her dime.

She first shared a story about following dreams and explaining that many people on this path don’t reach success but 15 years later. But she also encouraged her audience to continue being creative and pushing past limitations to achieve those goals.

“What many people don’t know is that it takes an average of 15 years to become an over night success. In that time you must create and continue to hone your skills. If you are a musician, write poetry and turn it into an amazing song. If you are a filmmaker write a short and shoot it. I’ve done it twice now. I know it’s not easy,” she wrote. “Two of my friends shot beautiful, award winning shorts on the CANON EOS 60D. One of those films was shortlisted to potentially receive an Oscar nomination yesterday. Trust me I know money is tight. So, in honor of Award Season, I’d like to help someone else see their dream realized.”

Continue reading “Octavia Spencer Gives New Filmmakers the Chance to Compete”

Octavia Spencer Covers Elle Magazine’s Women in Hollywood Issue

(Photo: Elle Magazine)

Bet.com reports that Academy Award-Winning actress Octavia Spencer graces the cover of Elle Magazine’s Women in Hollywood issue this month. Spencer wears a Tadashi Shoji cocktail dress in the photo, and in her article, she recounts her struggles and triumphs in the entertainment industry, including needing to stand up for herself when she was bullied by an industry icon in a room full of people.

“Early on I had to stand up to a producer — I won’t say who, but he is famous, famous. He dressed me down in a crowded office. I told him right there in front of a hundred people, ‘You don’t know me well enough to use that tone’…And then I ran to the bathroom and cried like a baby. But he never addressed me that way again. And he is known as a yeller.”

The Women in Hollywood November 2012 issue, which also features young actresses Elle Fanning and Emma Watson on two other covers, hits newsstands October 16.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson