Saturday, 18 January 2014

Best Supporting Actress 2013: Lupita Nyong'o - Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave is a wonderful film about the problem of slavery showed in one particular case of Solomon Northup. It is excellently directed and has got some perfect performances from the entire ensemble cast.
Lupita Nyong'o has received a lots of praise for her performance in this film. She's won many critic's awards and after a snub of Oprah Winfrey she doesn't seem to have strong competition among the nominees, so we can expect her to win her first Oscar in March. The more sad I am to proclaim that she one of the few among the ensemble, who wasn't so perfect.
First time we get to see Patsey is when Michael Fassbender's character is talking about her. What I really found strange was the fact that Lupita keeps a poker-faced expression throughout the whole scene. As if she wasn't even present there. As if he wasn't even talking about her. I know that Patsey was supposed to be afraid of him, but she seemed as if she was thinking about the lines she has got the scene that was about to be shot after this one.
Patsey should be a very tragic character. It's not enough that she's a slave, her master is somehow keen on her and he keeps raping her. There is a particular scene in the film, in which she asks Solomon to end her life, because she is suffering in this life. I didn't believe Lupita for a second. She chose to portray Patsey in such a passive way that it's hard to believe she really suffers. It seemed to me, as if she didn't have any attitude towards what's happening around her.
Her Master Epps played by Michael Fassbender has got lots of female slavers. But Patsey is the favorite of him. He is really keen on her and he actually prefers her to his wife. I just never saw any reason, why would he adore her so much. What is so special about her. Nyong'o fails to show off some charm or something that would make her stand out of the other slavers.
To not be only critical I have to admit that there are some scenes she handles fine. For example the scene she's being vexed in. The whole scene, including the fight between her and her master is very well handled, but she's being a bit overshadowed by everyone, who's on the screen with her. And other scene that is good is the scene of raping. But I feel about it that it's somehow great. There's just nothing wrong about it.
Another fine thing about her performance is that when we finally (throughout Solomon's eyes) get to leave her at the end of the film, we realize that we have built a relation with her. We realize we are going to miss her. But I also give credit to Ejiofor for this, because it is a proof of good chemistry between them.
While I was watching the film I thought she is not an experienced actress, she is a random person chosen for this film (like Quvenzahné Wallis and Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild). But then I found out she is a trained actress that actually has got some experience from theatre. That made me very surprise, because she couldn't handle this character as well, as I can imagine. I can think of so many better choices for a nomination in her category (even among her colleges in Twelve Years a Slave) that I can't believe she really got nominated.
The chances of winning an Oscar: Surprisingly, they are very high. I'd say she's the frontrunner right now. But her speech at the BFCA was great, so I won't be so disappointed...


  1. I agree she's not great, but I did think she was fine. Out of the supporting actresses though I preferred Sarah Paulson over her, and I think Nyong'o was overshadowed by Fassbender and Ejiofor in basically all her scenes.

    1. I thought we are not going to agree on her, but as if you were writing down my thoughts. I agree with all of the things you wrote...

  2. Wow, my predictions are wrong then! I personally disagree: I thought she was great and actually did show some of the qualities that would lead Fassbender to like her. I thought she was devastating when she needed to be, although I do think she could have been more cohesive in her characterization, although that's really the script's fault.

    I predict she'll be fourth. I think Hawkins will be last somehow, although with Lupita's low rating, I am not sure who will win anymore, always the best way!