Chiwetel Ejofor’s sister, CNN reporter, Zain Asher broke down in tears on Thursday when discussing her brother’s Oscar nomination.
“Honestly, I could not sleep last night. I really couldn’t,” Asher said while on live television. “This was so emotional for me because … I’m going to try not to cry … This was a day that my family has really been hoping for and waiting for, for such a long time. Chiwetel, he’s been acting since he’s 13 years old and oh my god, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. I do feel so emotional now,” the reporter said as she began breaking down.
“He’s worked so hard for this and growing up with him he was always in his bedroom practicing Shakespeare lines, writing Shakespeare on the wall. I would go out with my friends and I would come home and in the morning he would be reciting Measure for Measure and in the evening it would be Othello.”
“He’s someone who’s really dedicated and an actor’s actor. He’s been acting for over 20 years, and so to finally see recognition for his work … I can’t even describe the feeling.”
On Thursday morning, it was announced that Chiwetel was nominated for his role as Solomon Northup in Steven McQueen’s, 12 Years a Slave. Joining the actor in the category for “Best Actor in a Leading Role:” Christain Bale, American Hustle; Bruce Dern, Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street and Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.
“There’s so many amazing actors and so he’s in good company,” Asher explained. “You just never know how these things are going to go and so yesterday was very emotional for me, my mother, both of my brothers and sister, so I wasn’t really sure when I was watching the nominations what was going to happen.”
After the nominees were announced, Ejiofor released the following statement: “At no point during filming, in the sweltering heat of New Orleans, did any of us ever foresee the journey this film would take us all on. Steve McQueen created an entire family to tell one man’s tale and I am delighted that so many of this family have also been recognized today. I am hugely grateful to the Academy for this great honour, and, of course, to Solomon Northup for sharing his story through his breathtaking book.”
McQueen’s adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup garnered nine Oscar nominations total, including “Best Picture.”