Chiwetel Ejiofor Wins BAFTA

Chiwetel Ejiofor Wins BAFTA

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”.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ejiofor, 36, in the  movie, directed by Mr. Steve McQueen, played  the role of a Blackman who  was kidnapped and sold into the American South slave trade in 1841.

He won 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 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," he said.

Ejiofor was cast in the character of Solomon Northup, a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery, in the biopic.
He explained after the awards that he was “struck with self-doubt” initially upon receiving the script for the movie, noting that the gravity of the slave theme weighed deeply on his mind. He accepted when he considered the source material for the plot.

“Actually, it was about understanding and connecting to Solomun Northrup … it was a way for me to tell the story, and the rest could be revealed,” he said.

Ejiofor made his debut in 1995 at age 19 in Amistad, also a movie about slavery directed by iconic director, Steven Spielberg.

“We live in the same era as the events that these things happened in, with seismic differences, but also with numerous similarities. So we understand our societies through the history of our societies, so we can draw parallels and relevance from stories like this,” a report by connectnigeria.com quoted Ejiofor as saying in an interview last year.

The actor is currently filming Z for Zachariah, a post-apocalyptic drama, and will also appear in the movie adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.
Also, 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, 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.”

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 United States

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