Lupita Nyong’o Makes History as First African Jury President at Berlinale 2024.

  • Lupita Nyong’o made history by heading the Berlinale’s international jury.

At the 74th Berlinale Film Festival which began on February 15th with the presentation of the international jury, Academy Awards-winning Kenyan-Mexican Lupita Nyong’o made history by heading the Berlinale’s international jury.

The international jury in 2023 was presided over by US actress Kristen Sewart making it the second time in a row the jury is headed by a woman expert. 

This year’s jury presided over by Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar-winner was made up of actor-directors Brady Corbet and Jasmine Trinca and directors Ann Hui, Petzold, and Albert Serra alongside Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko.

Lupita Nyongo, who is new to serving on film juries, expressed her enthusiasm for learning from and collaborating with her fellow jurors, saying, “It is an honor to be here, a deep pleasure.”

“This is my first time attending the Berlin Film Festival. And I feel greatly honored to be the president of this year’s festival,” she said.

“It’s a chance to get to experience a whole lot of films from around the world. There’s quite the selection here, that is representative of a lot of world perspectives. And I get to do it with prolific artists, that I deeply respect and who have a whole lot more experience doing this kind of thing than I do. So, this is a chance for me to learn a lot about the world of cinema and to celebrate it,” she told the opening presser.

Twenty films that are vying for the Silver and Golden Bears, which will be given to the winners at the Award Ceremony on February 24, must be screened by the panel.

Director Tim Mielants’ Irish-Belgian drama “Small Things Like These” kicked off the festival on February 15. Producer Matt Damon and leading actor Cillian Murphy are both nominated for an Oscar for their roles in “Oppenheimer.” The festival will run through February 25th. 

About 200 films in all genres, lengths, and formats are reportedly screened in the festival’s many categories and special presentations, according to the Berlinale.

Versatile and Consistent Actress

Nyong’o makes history as the first African chairperson of the Berlinale jury that chooses the Golden and Silver Bear top honors. Most of the festival’s jury presidents have come from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Late last year, Berlinale directors Mariëtte Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian said, “Lupita Nyong’o embodies what we like in cinema: versatility in embracing different projects, addressing different audiences, and consistency to one idea that is quite recognizable in her characters, as diverse as they may look.”

The forty-year-old producer, who won an Oscar in 2014, has seen great success since. She has portrayed warrior Nakia in “Black Panther” and its sequel, Adelaide Wilson in the horror film “Us,” Nakku Harriet in “Queen of Katwe,” and she has even dabbled in children’s books with “Sulwe.”

Nyong’o, who portrayed Patsey in “12 Years a Slave,” won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. She has won numerous honors, including two Black Reel awards, an Image Award, an NAACP Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

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