Lupita’s Agent Reveals Big Announcement Coming in ‘The very near future’
An industry that loves its sequels is in suspense over what Oscar darling Lupita Nyong’o will do next.
Nearly two months since the 31-year-old Yale School of Drama alum won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress with her very first film role, the starlet has yet to reveal a followup to “12 Years a Slave.”
It’s not that she lacks offers — insiders say she’s mulling many options — but she’s picking her next project with great care. After all, a lot hinges on the choice.
The trick will be for the newly minted face of Lancome to hold onto her afterglow. Hollywood’s creative graveyard is littered with cautionary tales of Oscar winners, like Adrien Brody and Cuba Gooding Jr., who didn’t capitalize on their award glory.
“She’s proven she’s a great actress,” says Entertainment Weekly film correspondent Anthony Breznican. “Now she still needs to prove she’s a movie star.”
Nyong’o is often compared to fellow “It” girl Jennifer Lawrence, but the 2013 Best Actress winner was much further along in her career by the time she tripped on her way up to the podium to accept her statuette for “Silver Linings Playbook.” It was really the buzz surrounding Lawrence’s Oscar-nominated turn in “Winter’s Bone” two years earlier that earned her signature parts in “The Hunger Games” and “X-Men” franchises.
Now it’s Nyong’o’s turn to parlay Oscar gold into a golden ticket. “She’s America’s sweetheart right now,” says Roger Mussenden, whose credits as a casting director include the “X-Men” films.
But Nyong’o is taking her time compiling hers. For now, her agent will only say that a big announcement will be made in the “very near future.” And the rumor mill is only churning out crumbs.
Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie revealed in a TV interview in March that the Mexican-born, Kenyan-raised actress may be attached to a film adaptation of her novel “Americanah.”
And sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Nyong’o discussed a part in “Star Wars: Episode VII” with director J.J. Abrams.
Those rumors, and the deal with Lancome, will have to satisfy fans for now.
Other winners have struck while the iron was hot — not always with the correct career choices. For every Angelina Jolie, who followed up her 2000 win for “Girl, Interrupted” with the more commercial “Gone In 60 Seconds” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” there’s a Timothy Hutton, who won a Best Supporting Actor award in 1981 for “Ordinary People,” but was churning out lesser flicks (“Turk 182,” anyone?) within a few years.
Nyong’o certainly doesn’t want that, so she needs to pick wisely, experts say.
“If she can prove she’s a box-office draw over the next two, three, four projects, then she’ll be in a position where anything she wants to do, she can do,” says Breznican.
Shekhar Kapur, who directed a then-unknown Cate Blanchett to an Oscar nomination in “Elizabeth” in 1999, sees parallels between his muse and Nyongo.
“For Lupita Nyong’o , as it is for Cate Blanchett , it will be an internal battle,” says Kapur. “How far do you follow your own instinct, your own heart? The path of the heart for a creative person is always in conflict with the path of the market demands. And the path of the heart is tough.”
– New York Daily News