Nigerian British born Chiwetel Ejiofor wins award


Celebrating ‘Chiwetelu’ Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 years a slave
When you are a star as big as Chiwetel Ejiofor, harvesting global honour and respect for your country, you don’t get some sacarstic people in the Uk ask you where you are originally from. Chiwetel, originally Chiwetelu, is known on glamourous world stage as a British actor,  who played the leading role in the award-winning film, “12 Years a Slave.” the film won three academy awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. 


Chiwetel Ejiofor’s good example
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Nigerian-born British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, on February 16, gave Nigerians something to cheer as he won Best Actor at the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, the British equivalent of American Oscars...


Ejiofor Misses Oscar but film that brought him global acclaim wins 3 awards
Chiwetel Ejiofor winner
Nigeria’s renowned international actor Chiwetel Ejiofor last night failed to grab an individual Oscar but he shared in the glory as 12 Years a Slave, the film that brought him to global acclaim, won three awards at the colourful event held in Los Angeles.



Written by NAN

A NIGERIAN British-born actor Chiwetel Ejiofor has won the 2013 ``Best Actor’’ at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), for his role as Solomon Northup in the movie " 12 Years a Slave".

In the  movie, directed by Mr Steve McQueen, Ejiofor , 36, played  the role of a blackman who was kidnapped and sold into the American South slave trade in 1841.

He clinched the " Leading Actor" award,  beating fellow nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, who played Jordan Belfort in `The Wolf of Wall Street', Christian Bale in  `American Hustle', Bruce Dern in  `Nebraska' and Tom Hanks in `Philomena'.

While receiving the award on Sunday night in London, Ejiofor expressed appreciation to the organisers of BAFTA and also paid tribute to the Director of the movie McQueen.

"You really brought us all through it; you had the real vision to tell this remarkable story."

 "The extraordinary life that he had, and to tell this story in a way to make it of such value, of such worth to all who were there"

``Thank you for this, it is yours. I’m going to keep it, but it’s yours," Ejiofor told McQueen.

In the same vein, a Somalia-born Barkhad Abdi won the ``Best Supporting Actor’’ for his role as a Somalian pirate in "Captain Phillips".

Abdi, who is a newcomer in the entertainment industry, thanked his co- star Mr Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass, the Director of the movie, saying that the duo “helped with whatever obstacle I faced, they believed in me, before I believed in myself".

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that Ejiofor, Abdi and Lupita Nyongo  an upcoming Kenya-born actress, have been nominated for Best Actor, Supporting Actor and Actress respectively for the March 2 Oscar awards in the U.S.. (NAN)

Source: The Guardian, 17th February 2014.



Chiwetel Ejiofor wins best actor for ’12 Years a Slave’ at BAFTA

LONDON (AFP) – “12 Years a Slave”, the distressing tale of a man sold into slavery, was the big winner at the Baftas on Sunday, giving the Steve McQueen directed picture a huge pre-Oscars boost.

Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 years a slave

The film, adapted from Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, took the coveted best film prize at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House.

It scored an earlier success when British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who portrays free black man Northup as he is kidnapped and enslaved in the United States, walked away with the best actor prize.

Chiwetel Ejiofor Wins

Ejiofor said he was “so deeply honoured and privileged” to receive the award and praised McQueen.

“This is yours by the way, I know that, you know that,” he told the director. “I’m going to keep it but it’s yours”.

London-born McQueen used his acceptance speech to thank his “one and only mother” and to highlight the issue of modern day slavery.

“There are 21 million people in slavery as we sit here,” he explained. “I just hope 150 years from now our ambivalence will not allow another film-maker to make this film”.

McQueen’s work beat off competition from crime-comedy “American Hustle”, pirate drama “Captain Phillips”, space sci-fi thriller “Gravity” and “Philomena”, the tale of an Irishwoman searching for a son taken by nuns.

However, “Philomena” did win in the adapted screenplay category. Leading actor Steve Coogan praised the “real Philomena Lee”, revealing that she was in the audience.

Rising star Jennifer Lawrence won the best supporting actress award for her role in “American Hustle” and Barkhad Abdi claimed the best supporting actor prize for his portrayal of a Somali pirate in “Captain Phillips”.

McQueen missed out on the best director award, which instead went to Mexican Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity”.

Accepting his award, he said: “You can not tell from my accent but I consider myself a part of the British film industry”.

The stellar adventure enjoyed a hugely successful evening, receiving six prizes.

Australian Cate Blanchett paid tribute to late colleague Philip Seymour Hoffman, calling him “a continual profound touchstone”, as she claimed her best actress award for her part in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”.

“Phil, buddy, this is for you, you bastard,” she said. “I hope you’re proud.”

- Jolie surprise appearance -

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards are the highlight of the British film calendar and a useful guide to which way the Academy Awards might go on March 2.

Hollywood stars including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt rubbed shoulders with British royalty at the glitzy ceremony.

The superstar couple made an unexpected appearance on the red carpet in matching tuxedos and signed autographs for hordes of fans camped outside the venue.

Bafta president Prince William was also at the ceremony, which was hosted for a ninth time by actor Stephen Fry.

He opened proceedings with a tribute to Helen Mirren, who received Bafta’s highest accolade, the Academy Fellowship “in recognition of her exceptional contribution to film”.

Mirren, who has played Elizabeth II on stage and screen, was presented with the award by William, who called her “an extremely talented British actress who I should probably call granny”.

The 68-year-old actress quoted Shakespeare’s Tempest during her acceptance speech.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep,” she said.

“My little life is rounded with this honour, thank you very much indeed.”

The British capital has recently suffered freak storms, but conditions were fine if cold on Sunday, allowing stars to dazzle on the red carpet.

Mirren wore a navy blue dress with chiffon sleeves while fellow dame Judi Dench, nominated for best actress, wore a dark velvet gown with turquoise cuffs.

Oscar-winner Emma Thompson arrived wrapped up in a red dress and white coat with a huge furry collar, while “American Hustle” star Amy Adams posed for photographers in a floor-length black gown from Victoria Beckham.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale and Tom Hanks, all nominated in the Best Actor category, were also in London for the event.

BAFTAs 2014 winners
Best Film – 12 Years A Slave
Outstanding British Film — “Gravity”
Director — Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Actor — Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Actress — Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Supporting Actor — Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Supporting Actress — Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Rising Star — Will Poulter
Original Screenplay — Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Adapted Screenplay — Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, “Philomena”
Film Not in the English Language — “The Great Beauty”
Music — “Gravity”
Cinematography — “Gravity”
Editing — “Rush”
Production Design — “The Great Gatsby”
Costume Design — “The Great Gatsby”
Sound — “Gravity”
Visual Effects — “Gravity”
Makeup and Hair — “American Hustle”
Animated Feature — “Frozen”
Short Film — “Room 8”
Short Animation — “Sleeping With the Fishes”
Documentary — “The Act of Killing”
Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema — Peter Greenaway
Academy Fellowship — Helen Mirren
British Debut — Writer-director Kieran Evans, “Kelly + Victor”

Source: Vanguard, 17th February 2014.



Chiwetel Ejiofor’s good example

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Nigerian-born British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, on February 16, gave Nigerians something to cheer as he won Best Actor at the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, the British equivalent of American Oscars, for his role as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Ejiofor, who beat Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale to win this laudable laurel, also had numerous nominations and awards including five Golden Globe nominations, and the honour of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) conferred on him by Queen Elizabeth 11, of England.

Born Chinwetelu Umeadi on July 10, 1977 in Forest Gate, United Kingdom, to Nigerian parents, Chiwetel attended Dulwich College in South-East London. At 13, he began appearing in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

In 1996, Ejiofor caught the attention of the iconic filmmaker, Steven Spielberg who cast him in the critically-acclaimed production, Amistad (1997), alongside Morgan Freeman andAnthony Hopkins. He has since proved his mettle on the big screen in numerous features including Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things (2002) (for which he won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards, the Evening Standard Film Awards, and the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. Ejiofor has balanced his film and television commitments with a number of prestigious stage productions.

Ejiofor, whose doctor-father died when he was just 11 years old, threw himself into his trade and has today become an inspiration to artistes all over the world. Today, we celebrate his years of toil and sweat as he brings the nation into very positive limelight. Because of him, Nigeria is in the news for a good reason.

Once again, we have proved to the world that there is no human endeavour a Nigerian puts his heart and mind to that he cannot excel in. Also, that there is no short supply of professionals with sterling qualities in Nigeria, whether they reside on these shores or outside. Nigerians have distinguished themselves on various occasions and at several vocations, from the subtle arts to the intensely scientific, from the runway to the Ivory Tower.

One more time, we hold another Nigerian brand up to the world to see that there is more to this great country than violence and terror, advance fee fraud and corruption. There is every reason to roll out the drums and clink glasses over this feat on the international stage that has brought honour to our fatherland.

What this new achievement has reminded us, as a nation, is the need to take a second look at our entertainment industry, which has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. It is arguably one sub-sector of our economy that has developed and consistently moved ahead against palpable odds without intervention and interference from the government. It is a billion-dollar industry   with untapped resources waiting to be harnessed. Over the years, Nigerian artistes drawn from the music and movie worlds have lifted the national flag and kept it flying across the world, even when our many national challenges have threatened our stand in the comity of nations. Nigerian musicians are among the most celebrated on the continent.

We commend President Goodluck Jonathan’s initiative to support this important industry. Just last year, the Federal Government approved N3 billion intervention fund for capacity building to boost the Nigerian film industry, out of which N300 million has reportedly been released. Part of the fund will be dedicated to training and skills acquisition for Nollywood professionals in all competencies along the entire value chain of the industry. This is a step in the right direction and we urge state governments and captains of industry to follow the president’s footsteps to increase investment in this sector of our economy

We also seize this opportunity to call on theatre professionals to close ranks and focus more on developing the industry, instead of dissipating energy on petty politics and unhealthy rivalry. Nollywood must step up and elevate its act and art to world standard so that we can produce more Chiwetel Ejiofors for the local and international scenes.

We urge other Nigerians at home and in diaspora to emulate this international brand of Nigerian origin and do what will bring honour to their families and Nigeria. If we all join hands, we can stem the tide of negativity that has clung to the nation for too long and start shining like a million stars like our 36-year-old homeboy, Ejiofor.

We join other Nigerians and the government and people of Enugu State, where Ejiofor hails from, in celebrating this worthy ambassador of Nigeria.
Source: Sun, 1st March 2014.









Ejiofor Misses Oscar but film that brought him global acclaim wins
3 awards

Chiwetel Ejiofor winner

By News Express on 03/03/2014

Nigeria’s renowned international actor Chiwetel Ejiofor last night failed to grab an individual Oscar but he shared in the glory as 12 Years a Slave, the film that brought him to global acclaim, won three awards at the colourful event held in Los Angeles.

Ejiofor (shown in photo), last month won the best actor’s award at both the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards and the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards. He, however, lost the Oscar Best Actor Award to Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).

That notwithstanding, Ejiofor had much to celebrate when 12 Years a Slavewon the Best Picture award in addition to one of the cast, Lupita Nyong’o, winning the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award and 12 Years a Slavealso picking the Best Adapted Screenplay award.


Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Best Animated Feature: Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)

Best Cinematography: Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Best Costume Design: The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)

Best Directing: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

Best Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom

Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)

Best Film Editing: Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)

Best Original Score: Gravity (Steven Price)

Best Original Song: Let It Go - Frozen

Best Production Design: The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)

Best Animated Short Film: Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)

Best Live Action Short Film: Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)

Best Sound Editing: Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)

Best Sound Mixing: Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)

Best Visual Effects: Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

Best Original Screenplay: Her (Spike Jonze)

Source News Express

Posted 03/03/2014 5:00:47 PM









Celebrating ‘Chiwetelu’ Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 years a slave


When you are a star as big as Chiwetel Ejiofor, harvesting global honour and respect for your country, you don’t get some sacarstic people in the Uk ask you where you are originally from. Chiwetel, originally Chiwetelu, is known on glamourous world stage as a British actor,  who played the leading role in the award-winning film, “12 Years a Slave.” the film won three academy awards: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.  It was awarded the globe award for best motion picture-drama, and the british academy of film and television arts recognized the film wuth the bafta award for best film as well as the bafta award for best actor in a leading role for Chiwetel of course, nigerians are proud of chiwetelu as their son. and he is not disappointing his fatherland. Even in his glorious moments he remembers his dad, arinze. “I have a constant reflective relationship with (my dad). As I get closer to the age he was when he died, the relationship is becoming more acute. there’s a constant dynamic that will influence the kind of work i do.”  We join in celebarating chiwetelu with bits and pieces from stories on the brilliant and handsome man.

Chiwetelu Umeadi “Chiwetel” Ejiofor, was born on 10 July 1977 in London’s Forest Gate, to Nigerian parents. His father, Arinze, was a doctor, and his mother, Obiajulu, was a pharmacist. His younger sister is CNN correspondent Zain Asher.

In 1988, when Chiwetelu was 11, during a family trip to Nigeria for a wedding, he and his father were driving to Lagos after the celebrations when their car was involved in a head-on crash with a lorry. His father was killed, but Chiwetelu survived. He was badly injured, and received scars that are still visible on his forehead.

Chiwetelu began acting in school plays at the age of thirteen at Dulwich College and joined the National Youth Theatre. He then got into the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art but had to leave after his first year, after getting a role in Steven Spielberg’s’s film Amistad.

Chiwetelu made his film debut in the television film Deadly Voyage in 1996. He went on to become a stage actor in London. He had his first leading film role in 2002’s Dirty Pretty Things, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for best actor.

Also in 2003, he starred in the lead role of Augustus in the radio production of Rita Dove’s poetic drama “The Darker Face of the Earth”, which premiered on the BBC World Service on 23 August of that year, marking the International Day for the Remembrance of that Slave Trade and its Abolition.

He has crowned it all, ten years later, with a Bafta and an Oscar at the very peak of acting.

What her sister Zain says about him to The Mail

‘He had been very close to his father,’ Zain says. ‘And while the whole family was suffering from his death, the impact on Chiwetel was especially intense. He became very focused and threw himself into everything with an intense passion.

‘It was as if he had been given a miraculous chance to live and he was determined to make the most of it.’

Initially it was thought Chiwetel had also been killed in the accident.

‘When they dragged his body from the wreck, he was very badly injured and lucky to still be alive,’ says Zain, now a financial correspondent with CNN. ‘He’d broken several limbs and sustained a serious blow  to the head that left him in a coma for a while. Doctors told my mother to expect the worst.’

Though only five at the time, Zain vividly recalls the anguish of her mother Obi and several adult relatives as they maintained a vigil by her brother’s hospital bedside.

It would be ten weeks before the traumatised child was able to leave the hospital. And from that moment, Zain says, he seized life with a previously unseen passion.

‘By the time he was 13 he had developed this drive to be an actor,’ she says, revealing how his passion started while studying at the elite Dulwich College.

‘He started out in a school play. While other kids his age were hanging out, he would get home from school and lock himself in his room to learn his lines.

‘I would go out with my friends and come home hours later only to find him still reciting Shakespeare.

‘Sometimes he even wrote the words on the walls and Mum would have to wipe them off.’

Chiwetel joined the National Youth Theatre at 17 and was accepted by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

But he left during his first year after getting a role in Steven Spielberg’s film Amistad. ‘It all seemed to happen very quickly,’

Zain said. ‘I remember there was a lot of joy in the house when we heard. I mean, it was Spielberg!’

He went on to impress industry insiders with standout performances in films as diverse as Love Actually, Dirty Pretty Things and Kinky Boots. But it  is his performance in 12 Years  A Slave that has gained him international acclaim.

Zain said: ‘He’s really dedicated to being the best he can be.’

Some of Chiwetelu’s Quotes

“I loved reading when I was young. I was just completely taken by stories. And I remember taking that into English literature at school and taking that into Shakespeare and finding that opened up a whole world of self-expression to me that I didn’t have access to previously.”

“I think Shakespeare’s so astute in his understanding of people being vulnerable, you know. And that love is so easy to corrupt. I think so many of Shakespeare’s plays are about how fragile love is—how perfect and beautiful it is, but also how terrifying and easy to manipulate it is.”

“I look at scripts really for whether they can be moving or penetrate some kind of truth. You are constantly chasing that feeling as an actor when every part of a production comes together.”

“I think I have a constant reflective relationship with [my father], but don’t we all have that to some extent with people we have lost?”

“I decided to fly back to Nigeria to see my grandfather ... I had to get a car out from Lagos to Enugu and I realized this would be the first time driving on the same road that killed my father; making the decision to do that and confront it was a really important part of me coming to peace with the place.”

The Film, 12 Years a Slave

It tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man, a family man, and a violinist living in Saratoga Springs, New York in the mid-1800s. He’s forced to toil on a chain of plantations in the South until he is eventually able to regain his freedom 12 years later. The film is based on Northup’s memoir, which was a bestseller during his time, but slipped out of the public eye over the decades. The British-American film is up for an Academy Award on Sunday and has already won several awards in the UK.

The Man Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup (July 1808 – 1863?) was a free-born African American from New York, the son of a freed slave. A farmer and violinist, he owned a property in Hebron. In 1841 he was kidnapped by slave-traders, having been enticed with a job offer as a violinist. When he accompanied his supposed employers to Washington, DC, they drugged him and sold him as a slave. He was shipped to New Orleans where he was sold to a plantation owner in Louisiana. He was held in the Red River region of Louisiana by several different owners for 12 years, during which time his friends and family had little word of him other than his being kidnapped. He made repeated attempts to escape and get messages out of the plantation. Eventually he got news to his family, who contacted friends and enlisted the Governor of New York, Washington Hunt, to his cause. He regained his freedom in January 1853 and returned to his family in New York.[3]

Northup sued the slave traders in Washington, DC, but lost in the local court. District of Columbia law prohibited him as a black man from testifying against whites and, without his testimony, he was unable to sue for civil damages. Later, in New York State, the two men were charged with kidnapping but two years later the charges were dropped.

In his first year of freedom Northup published an account of his experiences in the memoir Twelve Years a Slave (1853). Northup’s memoir has been adapted and produced as the 1984 PBS television movie Solomon Northup’s Odyssey and the 2013 film 12 Years a Slave.

Solomon Northup’s story was largely forgotten, except by his family

In an account by Producer T. J Raphael, Clayton Adams, the great-great-great-grandson of Solomon Northup, says he learned he was the great-great-great-grandson of Northup when he was a rowdy teenager.

“I was getting ready to go to college and just finishing up my high school years,” he says. “My mother came across the book that was given to her by her mother, Victoria, and I read the book twice. But the second time, I was really understanding that this was a part of my blood, and with that in mind, it truly brought me to tears at the end of the book.”

Adams says he feels lucky that he is able to track his ancestry back to the mid-1800s — something many African Americans can’t do because the international slave trade broke families apart and denied them the ability to trace their heritage.

“It was truly a missing piece in my life — the puzzle was finally put together and it was amazing,” he adds.

Adams says the Hollywood rendition of his relative’s life moved him as well.

“I saw the movie three times. It took me three times just to be able to stay until the end, to actually see the ending,” says Adams. “I read the book, which is obviously detailed, but it’s different when you have the visual, when compared to your imagination. It makes it even more real.”

Adams says that, like his mother did for him, he’s raising his children to understand the family’s storied history and ancestry. On July 24, 1999, Adams took his two daughters back to Saratoga Springs, New York, for the first annual Solomon Northup Day. More than 40 descendants of Solomon Northup attended that first event, with people coming from across the country as far as Louisiana and California. The event is now in its 15th year.

Source: ThisDay, 8th March 2014.















Half of a Yellow Sun
The Movie


Chiwetel Ejiofor wins award
Half of a Yellow Sun s