Ralph Fiennes is bursting with pride for Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong'o after she acted on a piece of advice the British movie star once offered her, encouraging the Kenyan beauty to pursue her big screen dreams.
Nyong'o was working as a runner on the set of his film The Constant Gardener in 2005 when she approached Fiennes and asked for a little career advice.
She previously recalled, "Ralph Fiennes was a pivotal influence on me. I was having Ralph on set and he asked me, 'So what is it you want to do?' I very shyly, timidly admitted that I wanted to be an actor.
"He sighed, and he said, 'Lupita, only be an actor if you feel there is nothing else in the world you what to do - only do it if you feel you cannot live without acting'."
His words resonated strongly with Nyong'o and she went on to graduate from Yale University School of Drama's Acting programme in 2012, before landing her film debut in Steve MCQueen's 12 Years A Slave.
Fiennes attended a Colorado screening of the movie last summer (13) and admits he had no idea the young woman portraying slave girl Patsey was Nyong'o until he met her after the event - and was blown away by her achievements.
He says, "Last August, I was at the Telluride Film Festival; saw 12 Years A Slave, which was extraordinary, she's extraordinary in it...
"It was a tough, really tough film. I didn't recognise her in it, and afterwards she was there and I saw her and she says, 'Hi, do you remember me?' And at that moment, I saw it was Lupita and it was very moving to see her in that film."
Fiennes isn't the only one in awe of Nyong'o's debut performance - the role has landed her a best supporting actress nomination at Sunday's (02Mar14) Oscars ceremony, a day after she won the same honour at the Independent Spirit Awards.