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Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Sister, CNN’s Zain Asher Breaks Down Over His Oscar Nomination

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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.”

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EXCLUSIVES

5 Reasons You Need To Know Daveed Diggs

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If you don’t know the name Daveed Diggs you will now! The Oakland native is definitely one to watch in Hollywood. Here are five reasons why.

1. He has already taken Broadway by storm.

In 2016 Diggs nabbed a Tony and a Grammy award for his role as Marquis de Lafayette/ Thomas Jefferson in “Hamilton.” Believe it or not Diggs didn’t even audition for the role. While substitute teaching in Marin County, CA he met Hamilton’s eventual star and creator Lin Manuel-Miranda and director, Thomas Kail who invited him to join their free-style rap group and later helped them craft the fast-rapping revolutionary. 

2. He’s funny. 

Diggs is proving he’s also got some amazing comedy chops with two memorable recurring sitcom roles: one as Perry, the crush du jour for Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) on Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and the other on ABC’s black-ish as Johan, the free-spirited brother of Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross). In fact, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris wrote the role for Diggs after being “blown away” by his performance on stage.

3. His first feature film Wonder is in theaters now.

In the film based on the New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, Diggs plays Mr. Browne the fifth grade teacher at the school where lead Jacob Tremblay attends. Diggs landed the role after wrapping his run in “Hamilton” and told HH it was like a crash course in film acting alongside Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

4. He’s a rapper. 

His experimental noise rap group Clipping has garnered a major cult following on Youtube. Their LP CLPPNG was an Album Of The Week back in 2014. And in 2016 the trio performed on The Late Late Show with James Corden to promote the release of their six-track EP Wriggle. 

5. He is executive producer of ABC’s The Mayor.  

The show about a struggling young rapper (Brandon Micheal Hall) who runs for local office (and wins) to boost his popularity, debuted this Fall and already is garnering wave reviews. Not surprisingly Diggs and his Clipping bandmates William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes, also produce all the music for the show.

 

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