Black Panther Star Lupita, Mandera ‘Watu Wote’ film beam light on Kenya at the Oscars

A scene from the Mandera film 'Watu Wote' [Courtesy]

Kenya’s Hollywood darling — Lupita Nyong’o — has scored another feat. Lupita is among the stars who will get the honour to present an award at the highly acclaimed Oscars in Hollywood.

Lupita will announce winners and present to them the coveted award today at the Dolby Centre in Hollywood during the 90th edition of the Oscars.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood princess was picked for her chequered career in film, including winning an Oscar for Actress in a supporting role for 12 Years a Slave in 2013.

To crown it all, she starred in the highly acclaimed Black Panther, that is currently the talk of town. Other than Lupita shining among the stars, this year is a special Oscar for Kenya. A Kenyan produced film - Watu Wote-  has been nominated in the category for Best Live Action Short Film.

The film has been produced by Matrid Nyagah, Tobias Rossen and the Wilsons and directed by German students Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen as well as Kenyan Nancy Aluoch.
Watu Wote is a human interest story of the Mandera Bus attack where Muslims declined to identify Christians passengers as demanded by Al Shabaab terrorists with one of the Muslims aboard paying ultimate price in defence of his fellow passengers.

The film stars Adelyne Wairimu and Mahad Ahmed.
“I am so glad to have arrived here in Los Angeles in readiness for the awards. I can’t believe this is happening,” said Kryteen Savanne the Kenyan Production Manager on arrival in Hollywood.

Big night for Kenya

Watu Wote is among the winning Student Oscars last year in a project that employed over 100 actors and now is providing the much needed visibility of Kenyan talent in the right places.

“This is incredible. While I am here, I am connecting with the big people in the industry and you never know... new projects might just come out of this...,” said Savanne who flew into the Los Angeles International Airport after a red carpet event in Germany.

During the Kenyan premiere of the movie at The Junction a month ago, Tobias Rosen appreciated how hard the Kenyan crew worked with limited resources and tight schedule to pull this off.

“I can’t thank this team enough for the fun amidst serious and demanding roles from such a diverse cast from every corner of Kenya,” he said.

Other stars who will take the spotlight at the Oscars include actor Matthew McConaughey who won an Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role for Dallas Buyers Club in 2013.

This latest development is a yet another jewel on the crown of the silver screen princess who is also the first Kenyan to have joined the Academy as part of the more than 8,000 accomplished filmmakers.

Meanwhile, the much anticipated red carpet event will be graced by silver screen stars from the crème de la crème of the film industry and the entertainment world.

But the man of the moment — the ceremony’s host — will be celebrated American TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

The prestigious Academy Awards is an annual ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Now in its 90th year, the show (dubbed The Oscars after the man-shaped statuette received on winning) is considered by most in the entertainment industry as the highest honour to receive in recognition for their work.