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When director Steve McQueen first saw her audition on tape, he thought Lupita Nyong’o was a mirage.
“I was rubbing my eyes, was I seeing what I was seeing?,” McQueen told Piers Morgan.
After watching the tape with his wife, McQueen immediately called his agent.
“And it was just one of those moments where, you know, you kind of just quiver and sort of tremble because you know this is something big,” McQueen said.
Nyong’o remembers getting the call to play the part of Patsey, a young woman enslaved on the Lousiana cotton plantation where main character Solomon Northup is sold.
“I was dazed and confused,” she told Morgan, “I felt such a gut reaction to Patsey. I felt like I understood something about her with my soul that I didn't yet understand with my mind or anything. And so I was so excited when Steve said that I could actually delve into this and discover more about that gut feeling.”
Now the 30-year-old Mexican-born Kenyan actress is juggling photo shoots for magazine covers and is an Academy Award nominee for best supporting actress. Nyong’o most recently won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, which she added to her quickly-growing collection of recognition.
“Whenever Patsey speaks, it's from a place of extremis. It's a matter of life and death,” said Nyon’o, “So doing it for an hour was exhausting. And finding nuance in, you know, and trying to take every take as it’s the first time.”
McQueen is nominated for best director for his work with ’12 Years a Slave’ at this year's Academy Awards. Winning would mean British-born McQueen would be the first person to win both an Oscar and the Turner prize, the UK’s post prestigious art award (McQueen won in 1999).
For him, one is never the loneliest number.
He designed his own speed suit – because he can.
He is the most interesting man at the Games.
But being the only member of Mexico’s 2014 Winter Olympic team holds a second bit of singularity; Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe is the oldest competitor in Sochi.
“It's actually not something I wanted to be proud of. I didn't, you know, I didn't want to be famous of being the oldest in something,” said Hohenlohe, 55, ”But, everybody's asking me if I'm going to do like the next ones, so I'm the oldest and definitely just because of that I won't want to do it because that's not a record I want to have.”
Hohenlohe told Morgan his reason for competing was about both living a dream and giving back to his country.
“I'll have some pride because we've had a lot of negative for our press about other things. So, this is a great way of kind of promoting Mexico in other way and giving just a good vibe for the country which is what it really needs sometimes,” Hohenlohe said.
Mexico has yet to win a gold medal at any Winter Olympics. But Hohenlohe isn’t exactly going for gold – just looking to compete. Hohenlohe first hit the slopes at the 1984 Olypic Winter Games when he was 25-years-old.
“I'm proud that it's not in curling but in alpine skiing which is like something a bit more, I don't know, more glamorous and more cool than curling,” Hohenlohe said, “Although I must say, probably curling would be a little safer.”