If they gave out an Oscar for best-dressed on the red carpet, bets are that it would go to Lupita Nyong'o, 30, whose role as Patsey in the film "12 Years a Slave" has earned her multiple nominations.
Also noted: her wardrobe choices -- minimalist, bold, often colorful -- which have garnered wows and admiration from just about anybody who has laid eyes on her. So Sunday at the Academy Awards, fashion folks will be watching with bated breath to see what she wears.
The reaction was nothing short of seismic when she showed up at the Golden Globe Awards in Ralph Lauren's fiery red cape gown that revealed only the tops of her shoulders. The blog Tom & Lorenzo underscored the impact, noting that Nyong'o was "clearly the grand high empress of the red carpet."
Then came her body-con white Calvin Klein gown with sexy cutouts for the Critics Choice Awards. Why that dress? "It reminded me of the sea," she told Women's Wear Daily. "And the sea makes me calm and I was hoping it would help me with that." The lush turquoise Gucci number harnessed with beaded, floral cutouts she wore to the SAG Awards was just as impactful. More recently, she downright dazzled on the red carpet in a belted emerald Dior Haute Couture at the BAFTA awards.
It's fashion hit after hit and while her natural beauty is her calling card, her secret weapon may just be her stylist, Micaela Erlanger, who also works with Michelle Dockery, Martha Plimpton and Winona Ryder. "She comes with a look that seems authentic in an industry where authenticity is so rare," says celebrity stylist Robert Verdi. "She's comfortable in her own skin and has the ability to be versatile. Could you see her in a J.Crew campaign? Yes. A Versace campaign? Yes. Maybelline? Yes. She seems fresh and new in the landscape of girls who I think are so prefabricated."
Verdi predicts, "She'll have a beauty contract by next year." She already has a fashion contract with Miu Miu: She's the face of the Italian clothing company's spring/summer 2014 campaign. Verdi adds, "She's a star."