Lupita Nyong’o, an icon of grace, talent, and undeniable screen presence, has captivated audiences worldwide since her stunning debut in 2008 in the short film “East River.” Her choice of roles, always striking and often challenging, showcases her versatility and dedication to her craft. Whether she’s commanding the screen in a historical drama or bringing depth to a superhero epic, Nyong’o continues to enchant and inspire audiences everywhere. As we celebrate her illustrious career, let’s explore the essential films that have defined her journey in Hollywood.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Lupita Nyong’o burst onto the scene with her Oscar-winning performance as Patsey, a young slave enduring unimaginable hardships. Directed by Steve McQueen, this harrowing tale is based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup.

Where to Watch: Available on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Non-Stop (2014)

This action thriller stars Nyong’o as Gwen, a flight attendant caught in the midst of a hijacking on a transatlantic flight. The film, starring Liam Neeson, is a high-octane ride that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.

Where to Watch: Available on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

The Jungle Book (2016)

In this live-action adaptation of the beloved Disney classic, Nyong’o voices Raksha, the nurturing mother wolf who raises Mowgli. Directed by Jon Favreau, the film is a visual masterpiece that brings the jungle to life.

Where to Watch: Stream it on Disney+.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

In this inspiring biographical drama, Nyong’o portrays Harriet Mutesi, the supportive mother of a young Ugandan chess prodigy. Directed by Mira Nair, the film is a heartwarming tale of perseverance and triumph against the odds.

Where to Watch: Stream it on Disney+.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017)

Nyong’o lends her voice and motion-capture talents to the wise and ancient Maz Kanata in these epic installments of the Star Wars saga. Her character, with her signature yellow-tinted glasses, adds a layer of wisdom and history to the galactic narrative.

Where to Watch: Available on Disney+.

Black Panther (2018) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

In these groundbreaking Marvel blockbusters, Nyong’o stars as Nakia, a fierce and intelligent spy whose loyalty to Wakanda and its king, T’Challa, adds depth to the film’s plot. “Black Panther” redefined superhero cinema with its cultural impact and vibrant storytelling, while “Wakanda Forever” poignantly addresses the loss of T’Challa, showcasing the resilience and strength of the Wakandan people.

Where to Watch: Stream them on Disney+.

Us (2019)

Directed by Jordan Peele, this psychological horror film sees Nyong’o in a dual role as Adelaide Wilson and her terrifying doppelgänger, Red. Her performance is both haunting and mesmerizing, leaving audiences in awe of her range.

Where to Watch: Available on Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Little Monsters (2019)

This quirky zombie comedy features Nyong’o as Miss Caroline, a kindergarten teacher who must protect her students during a sudden zombie outbreak. Her comedic timing and charm shine through, proving her versatility once again.

Where to Watch: Stream it on Hulu.

The 355 (2022)

In this action-packed spy thriller, Nyong’o plays Khadijah, a former MI6 agent who teams up with a group of international spies to stop a global threat. Directed by Simon Kinberg, the film showcases her skills in the action genre.

Where to Watch: Available on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

A Quiet Place: Day One (2024)

Nyong’o joins the “A Quiet Place” franchise in this highly anticipated prequel. The film delves into the origins of the terrifying alien invasion, offering a fresh perspective on the silent, suspense-filled world that captivated audiences in the original films.

Where to Watch: In theaters and expected to stream on Paramount+.