The fashion and film worlds can't get enough of this exquisite Kenyan beauty who last year made her silver-screen debut in 12 Years A Slave, wowing critics and cinephiles and racking up awards nominations from Hollywood to London. A few facts about Lupita (LOO-PEE-TA): Born in Mexico to African parents, the now 29-year-old came of age in Nairobi before moving north to enroll at Yale's School of Drama. Her tour-de-force work in Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, as the livewire Patsey, won her the recent Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress and a coveted spot among Oscar's Class of 2014. I'm intrigues to see what Hollywood has in store for this amazingly talented actress, who joins the ranks of Adepero Oduye and Djimon Hounsou as breakout stars who also happen to have fun names to pronounce.
ALBUM: I Am (Columbia Records) by Chrisette Michele
A smashing debut disc from the enchanting singer-songwriter (and Jamaica Jazz & Blues 2014 featured act), who maturely walks that fine line between jazzy R&B and contemporary soul, bringing earthy, cinnamon-tinged vocals to cuts like the Grammy-winning jam "Be Ok" (with Will.I.Am) and such radio hits as "If I Have My Way" and "Best of Me." Sharing the marquee with Chaka Khan and Toni Braxton, the songbird is set to delight Caribbean fans at Jazz & Blues in Trelawny next weekend, a performance not to be missed.
DVD: Closer (Sony Pictures). Directed by Mike Nichols.
In celebration of her much-deserved Oscar nod for her note-perfect turn as a put-upon big sister in August: Osage County, Julia Roberts' mesmerizing work in this other emotionally charged drama is worth spotlighting, given that, very much like in August, she burns a hole in the screen conveying razor-sharp intellect (to go with her character's cold infidelity) in a starry cast that also includes Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen, rendering some of the finest work of their careers.
BOOK: The Sun Also Rises (1926) by Ernest Hemingway
Considered among Hemingways's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style, the novel (my current pageturner) is an engrossing look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World I generation, while introducing readers to two of the Nobel Laureate's most unforgettable characters in Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. We follow them as they journey from the wild night-life scene of 1920s Paris to the bullfighting corridas of Spain, with a motley crew of expatriate in tow.