Lupita Nyong’o became an official Hollywood darling last Sunday, winning a best supporting actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. Oddly enough, she doesn’t have any new projects lined up at the moment. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to pitch 5 movies, starring Nyong’o, based on news from this week. It’s Last Pitch Attempt: Lupita Nyong’o Edition.
When a mysterious online currency begins making waves in the cyber world, speculation runs rampant as to who’s behind it and what their shadowy motives might be. Convinced that some sort of cyber-punk anarchist revolution is about to take place, hotshot young FBI computer crimes specialist Drake Deacon (Ryan Gosling) enlists the help of brilliant (and beautiful) Princeton PhD student Maya Wangari (Lupita Nyong’o) to help him crack the case. But as they investigate, in a hunt that takes them from underground hacking clubs in Prague to the kinetic frenzy of Tokyo, Drake begins to suspect that Maya knows more than she’s letting on. Enter the Void’s Gaspar Noé directs this pulsating thriller, which explores the outer reaches of the web and culminates in a harrowing, breathtaking single-take chase scene through downtown Los Angeles. Featuring Virginia Madsen as the Siri-esque A.I. creation Minerva, and Jeremy Irons as a billionaire with his own designs for this dangerous new currency.
This sweeping romantic war drama, from Jane Eyre and True Detective director Cary Fukunaga, takes place in two troubled times. In the present day, South African photojournalist Ana (Lupita Nyong’o) travels to Crimea to document theincreasingly volatile political landscape there. While passing through a small village, Ana meets another journalist, a melancholy French writer with family roots in the area named Sasha (Pierre Perrier), who insists that she meet his great-grandmother, whom he says will tell Ana all she needs to know about this turbulent place. The extremely aged woman, played in state-of-the-art makeup by a haunting Emma Thompson, tells Ana the story of how her own grandparents met during the Crimean War. Yulia (Olga Kurylenko) is a young widow with grand ambitions to leave her small city, while Francois (Guillaume Canet) is a French sailor injured during the epic Siege of Sevastopol. As Yulia nurses him back to health, love conquers political and national divides, while in the present Ana learns that the current conflicts, between Russian and Ukrainian, Eastern and Western, are not as easy to simplify as she once naively thought. Part The English Patient and part Syriana, Sevastopol is a stunning, heartbreaking look at a land forever caught between worlds, and at the love that is forever found and lost on the dark shores of the Black Sea.
Adele & Adele
When famously eccentric actor Jack Turado incorrectly introduces a singer at an awards show as “Adele Nadzim,” it becomes an international joke. But for one waitress eking out a living in North London, who also happens to be named Adele Nadzim (Lupita Nyong’o), it becomes the opportunity of a lifetime. The plucky Adele uses her 15 minutes of local fame, given to her by a faraway celebrity’s embarrassing gaffe, to realize her own dreams of becoming a singer. Her journey will take her from her tiny flat all the way to Hollywood, where the oddball actor (Nicolas Cage) has agreed to meet with her for an image-repairing photo-op. Directed by Girlfight’s Karyn Kusama and featuring a sparkling screenplay by acclaimed novelist Zadie Smith, Adele & Adele tells a wry and winning story of chance and possibility. Featuring a breakthrough performance by Nicole Scherzinger as the wrongly introduced singer, and Michael B. Jordan as Jack’s hapless assistant Ty, who may be developing a bit of a crush on this spunky English girl.
Teaching the Test
Darcy Fortinbras (Lupita Nyong’o) is a determined high school teacher in a rough section of Houston who does everything she can to give her students a fighting chance. But when yet another change in national testing is implemented—meaning entire curricula have to be overhauled just to ensure that the students do well on specific exams (which is the only way the school will receive more funding)—the usually patient Darcy reaches a breaking point. With the help of an unlikely ally, set-in-her-ways private school headmaster Donna Thatcher (Angela Bassett), Darcy takes on the system, battling condescending bureaucracy (including a steely College Board administrator played by Patricia Clarkson) to make school about teaching the students not for the test, but for life. Directed by Jonathan Demme and featuring original music by Jon Brion and Mary J. Blige, this uplifting drama teaches us that sometimes you have to reach people’s hearts in order to change their minds.
Kara Signet (Lupita Nyong’o) is a GOP public relations dream. A young, intelligent black woman who is fiercely conservative and not afraid to speak her mind, she becomes an immediate star upon arriving at CPAC. Determined to show the nation that the right is not solely populated by old white men, Kara seizes her instant prominence, making guest appearances on news shows and penning blistering op-eds for various newspapers and websites. But as she ventures deeper toward the heart of the Republican party, it becomes clear that the powers that be might not have her best interests in mind. So she abruptly leaves the fold, positioning herself as an independent candidate foil to the assumed Republican presidential nominee, Indiana senator Stanley “Stack” Thornson (Tommy Lee Jones). With the help of keen campaign manager Alex Diaz-Russell (Corey Stoll), Kara sets out to challenge both parties’ assumptions about identity. A prickly political dramedy from director Kasi Lemmons, The Token takes to task anyone who thinks they know who’s voting for whom.