Awards season always pushes up and comers into the limelight. Last year it was 12 Years a Slave breakout star Lupita Nyong’o and in 2015, British actor David Oyelowo is the name on everyone’s lips, even if Brad Pitt has to help us out with some pronunciation.
David is the star of one of the 2015 awards season frontrunners, Selma. Based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, and Martin Luther King, Oyelowo plays King opposite Tom Wilkinson’s President Lyndon Johnson. Oyelowo has received rave reviews for his performance and has so far notched up a Golden Globe nomination (one of four nods for the movie) and a string of other independent film circuit wins. So who is the new Hollywood it man?
The 38-year-old is best known to Brit audiences for his role as MI5 officer Danny Hunter in the smash hit TV drama series Spooks, which he starred in from 2002 to 2004.
He’s also built up a hugely impressive theatre career, after kicking off his acting passion when a girl he had a crush on invited him to a youth theatre group in his home city of Oxford. He began his stage career in 1999 when he was offered a season with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, with his performance as King Henry VI in the company’s 2001 productions of Shakespeare’s trilogy of plays, a landmark for both the actor and African American stars. Oyelowo was the first black actor to play an English king in a major production of Shakespeare, with his casting leading to heated debate in the media.
Directors LOVE him
While he’s got an impressive TV and stage CV, Oyelowo has only broken out in Hollywood over the past three years. In 2012 he appeared in Middle of Nowhere, a film by writer-director Ava DuVernay who went on to cast the actor in Selma. The story of how he got the role in Middle of Nowhere is pretty remarkable. DuVernay had been a big fan of the actor and had considered asking him to take the role but before she could put in the call, Oyelowo received the script coincidentally from a friend of the filmmaker who happened to be sitting next to him on a plane. In 2012 the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. Lee Daniels′ The Paperboy was another huge role for the actor that year and another big hit on the festival circuit. He followed that up with another drama from Daniels, The Butler, before working on Selma. It sounds like once a director works with Oyelowo, they’re hooked! He’s also done something with Nollywood, starring in ‘Blood and Oil’ a 2010 movie shot in Nigeria.
For the moment, the Brit is busy with the awards season buzz, with the actor heavily tipped to add a BAFTA and Oscar nomination to his Golden Globe nod. After that, there’s a rumoured role with Lupita Nyong’o in Americanah, a film to be adapted from the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel.
And he’s best friends with Brad Pitt
It looks like the actor is having fun immersing himself in Hollywood. Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company is behind Selma, with Oyelowo revealing that the two men and their kids (six for Brad and Angelina and four for David and his wife Jessica) enjoyed “epic play dates” during the shoot. With all-star support like Brangelina, expect some major applause if Oyelowo does do the ultimate, and win the Oscar (and a BAFTA) in 2015!
Watch out for this star. I am fascinated cos he carries a Nigerian name tho. Lol.