Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong’o
Like Abdi, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o received her Best Supporting Actress nomination for the first feature role, as the young and tortured Patsey in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. But unlike Abdi, she has a small background in cinema that helped her land the role. Born to political refugee parents in Mexico, Nyong’o moved back to Kenya for a while before heading to the U.S. to go to film school, eventually working behind the scenes on features such as The Constant Gardner and The Namesake. She went back to Kenya for a role in the TV miniseries Shuga and directed her own documentary called In My Genes.

It was after graduating Yale’s School of Drama that she landed the role of Patsey, and she has received almost universal praise from critics the world over. As you can imagine, she’ll be doing what every new Oscar nominee does for a follow-up project: she’ll star opposite Liam Neeson in the airplane thriller Non-Stop.

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