Nyong’o, 36, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, recalls how Winfrey and Woodard, among other celebrities, shared wise words and protected her when she was first starting out.
“Starting with 12 Years a Slave, I was welcomed [in Hollywood] with such warmth,” Lupita said in an interview with NET-A-PORTER’s weekly digital magazine, PorterEdit. “My castmates surrounded me. I don’t know if they are aware of this, but I felt so protected. Sarah Paulson: my God, that girl, she was like everything to me. And Alfre Woodard, she was invaluable.”
“I would ask questions about my finances, where I should live, all sorts of things,” Lupita added in the PorterEdit interview. “[Woodard] had this dinner that she throws during Oscars season for all the Black women in Hollywood. Being invited to that basically [felt like] my TV had exploded in the room because all these actresses were there. No cameras are allowed and people just have candid conversations.”
In a Time magazine interview, Nyong’o said Winfrey’s hugs were spectacular and felt like home.
She also gave credit to her 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen for looking out for her as she traversed the industry.
“Brad Pitt, same thing,” Nyong’o told PorterEdit. “And Jared Leto, he’s still on speed dial, because we were on that [Oscar campaign] journey together and he’s so embracing of me. There was an intimacy that grew from that, that goes beyond the dating rumors, beyond all that.”
Lupita will star in her next movie, Us, later this month. In the highly anticipated thriller, Nyong’o and Winston Duke play a married couple who take their children on a summer vacation in Northern California. Once there, they hook up with old friends (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker), but pretty soon Nyong’o is haunted by a past trauma and the family learns what Keith Sweat did: something, something, something, something just ain’t right.