Cynthia Erivo's Superstar Hot Streak Continues With 'The Outsider'

Cynthia Erivo's Superstar Hot Streak Continues With 'The Outsider'

Cynthia Erivo only started appearing in movies in 2018, but in just over a year she’s already become one of the most acclaimed performers in the industry. Her first two roles, in last year’s Widows and Bad Times at the El Royale led the way for her role in this year’s Harriet, for which she earned her first Academy Award nominations. Now, she’s appearing in HBO’s The Outsider, a limited series adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel of the same name, and yet another explosive on-screen role.

In The Outsider, Erivo plays Holly Gibney, the eccentric private investigator who teams up with Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) to get to the bottom of the murder of Frankie Peterson, and find out whether Terry Maitland is innocent, guilty, or if something entirely different is at play.

Her Outsider character is starkly different from her roles in Widows, where she played a babysitter and beautician, and Bad Times at the El Royale, where she played a singer who gets involved in an absolutely insane thriller with many twists. Erivo’s range from role to role is always apparent, and viewers might be shocked to learn that she’s, in fact, from England—her accent is undetectable.

For playing the titular role of Harriet Tubman in Harriet, Erivo has received her strongest accolades yet: a pair of nominations at this year’s Oscars. Not only did she receive a nomination for Best Actress for playing Tubman in the film, but she earned a second nomination for Best Original Song—she sings “Stand Up” off the movie’s soundtrack.

Unfortunately, the rarity that comes along with earning a double nomination was overshadowed by the fact that once again the Academy failed to pull together a diverse pool of nominees—Erivo is the only person of color among the show’s 20 acting slots.

While expressing how legitimately excited she was to receive her nominations, she also gave an insightful series of quotes to Billboard about inclusion within the industry.

Before the hugely successful start to her film career, Erivo showed off her talent on stage with a background performing in the theatre. She really hit her big break when she appeared in the 2015 Broadway musical revival of The Color Purple, playing Ceile (the lead character played by Whoopi Goldberg in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film version). For her role in The Color Purple, Erivo won a Tony (for Best Leading Actress in a Musical), a Grammy (for Best Musical Theater Album) and a Daytime Emmy (for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program).

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If Erivo manages to win either of the Oscars she’s up for next month (Best Actress in a Leading Role or Best Original Song, both for Harriet), she’ll have achieved what very few have before: the coveted EGOT. EGOT, of course, stands for the four major entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

And Erivo’s successes go even further than EGOT range; last year she even led a serialized podcast called Carrier, one that’s been—get this—much praised. We’re starting to sense a pattern here. Keep watching Erivo on The Outsider, because you can feel fairly certain that she’s going to deliver.

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