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CNN reporter cries for joy after learning her brother Chiwetel Ejiofor had won best actor Oscar nomination

By The Rainbow
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Joy: CNN financial news reporter Zain Asher became emotional on air as she shared her joy that her brother, Chiwetel Ejiofor, has been nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award

A CNN reporter has broken down with pride during a television interview after learning that her brother, Chiwetel Ejiofor, has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Zain Asher’s heartfelt reaction surprised her colleagues – not least because many didn’t even know she was related to the 12 Years a Slave actor.

‘This is a day my family has been hoping and waiting for for such a long time,’ Asher, a financial news reporter, told fellow CNN host Carol Costello after the network got wind of the connection.

‘He's been acting since he was thirteen years old, and he’s worked so hard for this.’

As she described how her brother would spend hour after hour reciting lines of Shakespeare in his bedroom, she became emotional with pride.

‘Chiwetel – he’s been acting since he’s 13 years old and – oh my god! I told myself I wasn’t going to cry,’ she said through tears and laughter. ‘I do feel so emotional now.’

She added: ‘He’s someone who’s really dedicated and an actor’s actor. He’s been acting for over 20 years, and so to finally see recognition for his work – I can’t even describe the feeling.’

The 36-year-old English actor has worked on many box office hits in the past – from Love Actually to American Gangster – but 12 Years a Slave has garnered him new recognition.

He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for his depiction of the film’s lead character, Northup, but he missed out to Matthew McConaughey.

He will battle McConaughey, who starred in Dallas Buyers Club, again for the Best Actor Oscar on March 2, as well as Christian Bale, Bruce Dern and Leonardo DiCaprio.

‘There’s so many amazing actors and so he’s in good company,’ Asher said. ‘I wasn’t really sure when I was watching the nominations what was going to happen.’

She said that her brother, who is in bed getting over an illness, was also unsure about his likelihood of getting a nomination.

Dazzling cast: Ejiofor, right, is pictured with Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave. All three actors have also both been nominated for their performances in the movie