There’s no question that Lupita Nyong’o is the breakout style star of this awards season. The young actress nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her part in 12 Years A Slave, which has kicked her career into high gear. “There’s no way that I could have dreamt any of this stuff up. It’s just been an incredible journey, and it continues to be that,” Nyong’o tells InStyle. It’s an adventure and a very exciting one, a very rewarding one and a very revealing one as well.”

Usually wears: Bright, solid colors like scarlet red, emerald green, and robin’s egg blue in sleek and modern cuts. “I’m dark-skinned so primary colors pop the best,” Nyong’o says.

Favorite designers: Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Cushnie et Ochs, and Lanvin.

Wildcard factor: The rising icon has kicked off awards season in style, opting for fresh and striking silhouettes in bold hues like the chic Ralph Lauren cape dress that left us speechless at the 2014 Golden Globes. “This is a woman that can wear every single color of the rainbow and then some,” states InStyle‘s editor Ariel Foxman in our #OscarsDressDebate.

What we’d like to see: Color, color, color! “I’m still in love with her in solid colors. I think it’s really brilliant that she’s come out and created this very distinctive visual impression by matching her dress with her shoes and her makeup,” says InStyle‘s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson. “I’d like to see another bright color.” We agree, and are craving more eye-popping color from Nyong’o, but hope she mixes it up and chooses a new hue. “I’m really interested in seeing new saturations of color on her, like a beautiful salmon,” states designer Rachel Roy. “She looks absolutely incredible in these bold, solid colors. I’d never want to see her in a black dress,” says Beth Buccini of New York City boutique Kirna Zabete. “She can really carry a strong look. I’m thrilled with the solid colors still.”

Want more Lupita Nyong’o? Look through our gallery to see her best red carpet looks from this awards season!

MORE:
• We’ve Decided the Red Carpet Fashions for the Oscars!
• Why We’re Obsessed: Lupita’s Golden Globes Dress
• Listen Up: Here’s How to Say Lupita Nyong’o’s Name