Lupita Nyong'o Reveals the Advice She Got from Emma Thompson After She 'Panicked' Following Her 2014 Oscar Win (Exclusive)

"She was the one who encouraged me to go and do what I wanted to do," the actress tells PEOPLE of Thompson

<p>Christopher Polk/WireImage</p> From Left: Lupita Nyong

Christopher Polk/WireImage

From Left: Lupita Nyong'o and Emma Thompson in 2014

Emma Thompson shared some invaluable words of wisdom with Lupita Nyong'o following her 2014 Oscar win.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE at the Paramount Pictures x Hollywood Confidential Celebrating Lupita Nyong'o event on Friday, June 14, the actress, 41, recalls how Thompson, 65, offered her advice after she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave.

Sharing that her “biggest fear” was how she was going to “top” her big win for her role as Patsey, Nyong’o says that she “panicked about it because the Academy Awards is considered the pinnacle of one's career.”

“And here I was winning it with my very first role. And I was like, ‘Okay, where do I go from here?’ ” says Nyong’o. “And then also there's, I'd heard a lot about the Oscar curse for Best Supporting Actress. A lot of people who won that then went on to not have such great projects after that, and the fear of falling off the map.”

“So all of that was really tough for me to deal with and to try and not psych myself out,” she continues, adding that that she “worried” about the prospect.

<p>Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/WireImage; Dave J Hogan/Getty</p> From Left: Lupita Nyong'o; and Emma Thompson

Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/WireImage; Dave J Hogan/Getty

From Left: Lupita Nyong'o; and Emma Thompson

Related: Lupita Nyong'o Says She's Ready to Be in a Rom-Com: 'Consider This My Open Application' (Exclusive)

However, Thompson was on hand to help, with Nyong’o revealing that she caught up with the Bridget Jones star while she was in London.

“I spoke to her about my fears of failing. And she was the one who encouraged me to go and do what I wanted to do, which was a play on Broadway,” Nyong’o shares.

Revealing how Thompson was “the one who encouraged me to do Eclipsed," Nyong’o recalls her saying, "You know what? You have to lead your life the way you see fit. Do not do what other people recommend. You have to really follow your own navigation system. And if that is what you feel will strengthen your craft and remind you of what you're good at, do that because you have the rest of your life to lead, and you can't do it according to other people's expectations."

And Nyong’o tells PEOPLE Thompson’s encouragement paid off.

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<p>Frank Trapper/Corbis/Getty</p> Lupita Nyong'o with her Oscar at the 2014 Academy Awards

Frank Trapper/Corbis/Getty

Lupita Nyong'o with her Oscar at the 2014 Academy Awards

Related: Lupita Nyong'o Wore Blue to the 2024 Oscars to Commemorate Her 'Introduction to Hollywood' 10 Years Ago

“There was a lot of people resisting me going on Broadway because it felt like it was like the wrong move. I should be doing a bigger and better movie. But actually doing that play in Eclipsed really strengthened me and reminded me of what I love to do and what I was good at, which is the acting,” she says.

The actress adds, “So I think the thing that I know now is that I can trust my inner navigator. I kind of thought I could then, but now I'm certain.”

Nyong’o starred in the 2016 Broadway production of Eclipsed, which was written by her future Black Panther costar Danai Gurira. She earned a nomination for best performance by a leading actress in a play at the 70th Tony Awards later that year.

Since then, Nyong’o has gone to star in Us, Little Monsters and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She also leads A Quiet Place: Day One, which is set to be released in theaters on June 28.

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Friday's event, which was held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles, celebrated the actress' expansive career and her years of work in the film and TV industries.

Created by TV & content producer Steve Jones — who's worked with Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez — the Hollywood Confidential event series has served as a North Star to those dreaming of a career in Hollywood for the last 10 years. The series fosters illuminating one-on-one conversation with the most powerful voices of color in entertainment — all designed to empower, inspire, and equip the next generation of actors, writers, producers and directors of color.

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