Entertainment Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo reacts as the only recognized...

Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo reacts as the only recognized color actor

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British actress Cynthia Erivo received her first two Oscar nominations on Monday morning for her performance as the iconic freedom fighter and abolitionist Harriet Tubman in "Harriet" by Kasi Lemmons and for co-writing the original and anthemic song of that movie " Stand Up "(with Joshuah Brian Campbell)

Following notable rebuffs for characters like Jennifer Lopez ("Hustlers"), Jamie Foxx ("Just Mercy") and Lupita Nyong & # 39; or ("Us"), Erivo was the only person of color nominated for a acting Oscar . year.

Hours after the announcement of nominations on Monday morning, Erivo spoke by phone from Japan, where he had just landed to talk about his nominations and the legacy of #OscarsSoWhite.

First of all, congratulations! What were you doing when you received the news?

Cynthia Erivo: Thank you. However, I was many feet and miles in the air on my way to Japan on a plane.

Who gave you the news?

I discovered that I had WiFi on the plane, I connected my phone to the WiFi network and I think this was about an hour after it was announced. And many people gave me the news because a lot of tweets, messages, text messages, voice messages and text messages began to appear. I don't remember what was the first text message I received, everything happened.

Who was the first person you responded to?

Who It was The first person I responded to? I have no idea, I can't even remember. I think I probably sent a message to my mother first because I don't know if she realized what was happening. She is in London, so she didn't appear in the news until much later. I should have sent a message to my mother and my sister first and then probably sent a message to my agent and my PR because we had to have conversations. I may be wrong because I can't even remember it.

Do you mind if I ask you what you do in Japan?

I have a concert. I am singing in three concerts that I will do with two other artists.

How are you going to celebrate? Are you going to do it there or will you wait until you come back?

I think I will wait until I return to do it with my friends and family. Here I will be working. I can buy something good for me (laughs).

How does it feel to be the only candidate of color that acts?

It is bittersweet real and true because although I worked very hard for what was happening, I would also have loved to be able to celebrate with other people of color who worked very hard this year as well. I think there has been an incredible job this year and beautiful pieces that have come not only from people of color but also from women directors. So I hope to represent ourselves well once that celebration occurs.

Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in "Harriet".

(Glen Wilson / Focus Features)

Did you know that if you win, you will become the youngest and fastest EGOT winner in history?

I have been told yes. Which is crazy. But no, I didn't think it would be at this point (in my career) because I didn't even know it was possible to do all those things with a Broadway musical. Therefore, it is wonderful to even have it discussed in this way.

What was your reaction when BAFTA asked you to act despite not nominating any color actor?

It really was a no, because I felt it was indicative of what they thought of (colored) artists like me. I just thought there was no point in going and acting when there were literally none, none at all.

How does it feel to achieve this recognition for playing such an iconic historical figure?

It feels great because, hopefully, it means that people will begin to learn about it and want to be interested in the work that Harriet did. I hope it makes her proud, I hope she makes her family proud. I hope people see this and want to know more about it and I'm glad to be one of the representatives of their history. And I hope you encourage more people to tell the story.

You are just the eleventh black woman to be nominated for a leading actress trophy in Oscar history. Does that create pressure to be in a position so historically so early in your career?

I don't think it creates pressure (but) I think it's sad that there is only one woman of color who has won that prize. I hope that changes at some point. I hope it stops becoming an anomaly when it happens. There are so many women of color, black women, who have been working in this industry that they deserve and have deserved to be celebrated that way and I hope it will begin to be more normal, to be honest. Being only 11 is amazing and I hope that changes at some point.

Since the academy often overlooks artists of color, do you think we should continue to evaluate their opinions about the best films and performances of the year?

Yes and no. It is a difficult question to answer because I think there are people who believe in the good making of films and good actors. But I think sometimes it is subjective. I think it is also up to us to celebrate the pieces that are not necessarily celebrated in the awards ceremonies in our own way because not being nominated does not make it a good movie. Something can be beautiful and not celebrated, but that is up to us to make sure it is. That is what I think. Yes, it highlights some of the movies of the year that are great, but if you miss some of these movies, I think our job is to highlight those movies to make sure people see them.

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