Lupita Nyong’o Laughs Off Emma Thompson Photobomb, Says She “Cowered” Meeting Julia Roberts

Lupita Nyong'o with host Jimmy Fallon during an interview on Jan. 22
Lupita Nyong'o laughed with Jimmy Fallon about Emma Thompson's photobomb Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

People can’t stop buzzing about Lupita Nyong’o — and it’s not hard to see why. The 12 Years a Slave breakout star, who earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in the acclaimed historical drama, is winning hearts all over the place with her impeccable red carpet style and unassuming charm. The latest piece of evidence for the jury: Her appearance on Wednesday’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Sitting down to chat with future Tonight Show host Fallon, the Oscar nominee was radiant in a royal-purple blouse and matching wide-leg trousers from Cushnie et Ochs. She looked gorgeous — and she nailed the interview, too.

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Asked about the moment Emma Thompson photobombed her on the red carpet at the SAG Awards, the 30-year-old Yale School of Drama grad laughed good-naturedly. “She’s a riot,” Nyong’o gushed of Thompson.

Emma Thompson photbombs Lupita Nyong'o
Gregg DeGuire/

“I only learned [about it] afterwards,” she added. “Someone sent me the GIF, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God.’ I had no idea she was doing that.”

Both Nyong’o and Thompson appeared on The Hollywood Reporter‘s Dec. 6 cover with Amy Adams, Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, and Octavia Spencer. “It was the first time I had met all of them,” she said of the photo shoot.

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“I spent the whole morning just trying to meditate and visualize the day to be prepared, and then I walked into the dressing room, and the first people I saw were Emma Thompson and Julia Roberts, and I just cowered,” she confessed. “I was like, ‘Hello…'”

Nyong’o also spoke with Fallon about her accomplished family. Her father, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, is a senator in Kenya, and her cousin Isis Nyong’o was named one of Forbes’ 20 most powerful women in Africa.

“[She does] something to do with technology,” the Kenyan-born star said. “She’s just amazing.”

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Earlier in the week, the actress told Queen Latifah about the moment she found out she had been nominated for an Academy Award. “I was in my hotel room with my best friend, and I decided that it was best if I just heard it from the horse’s mouth. So I woke up at 5:30, and I was so mad at the weatherman, because he was going on and on about the weather. And I was just like, ‘Oh man, just get to the nominations,'” she recalled.

“To hear my name…my stomach just churned and I was confused and I just burst out crying. I never in my wildest dreams thought that the first role I’d get out of school would lead to an Oscar nomination,” she said. “No dream could have been that wild.”

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