Chiwetelu Umeadi \"Chiwetel\" Ejiofor,CBE ( born 10 July 1977) is a British actor, director and writer of Nigerian descent.After enrolling at the National Youth Theatre in 1995, and gaining a scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, at age 19 and three months into his course, Ejiofor was cast by Steven Spielberg to play a supporting part in the film Amistad as James Covey.
Ejiofor is known for his portrayal of Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things (2002), the Operative in Serenity (2005), Lola in Kinky Boots (2005), Luke in Children of Men (2006), and Dr. Adrian Helmsley in 2012 (2009). He played Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He was nominated for a 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance in Dancing on the Edge.
Ejiofor has received numerous awards and nominations for acting, including the BAFTA Orange Rising Star Award in 2006, five Golden Globe Award nominations, and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in Othello in 2008. In 2008, he was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the arts. He was elevated to Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2015 Birthday Honours.