10 Nigerian Actors rocking Hollywood
Nigeria can pride itself on having produced more than its fair share of actors who have made a name for themselves in the Hollywood movie industry in recent years. Here is a selection of just ten of the actors who are making their mark in Tinseltown.
A Nigerian-British citizen, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje grew up in London, gaining a Masters in Law at the University of London. He played the part of Wombosi in what is his biggest movie to date, The Bourne Identity. Adewale’s other movies include The Mummy Returns, GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra, Unstoppable, The Legionnaire, Thor: The Dark World and Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
Hakeem Kae Kazim
Hakeem Kae Kazim was born in Lagos in October 1962 before training as an actor in South Africa. Hakeem has appeared in several major movies including Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Fourth Kind, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Hotel Rwanda.
Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor
Chiwetelu Ejiofor was born on July 10, 1977. Three months into a scholarship at the London Academy of Dramatic Art he played a small part in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. In 2006 Ejiofor was nominated for five Golden Globes for his portrayal of Othello. In 2013 he was nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his role of Solomon Northop in 12 Years a Slave.
Chiwetelu’s other notable movies include 2012, Serenity, Dirty Pretty Things and Children of Men. In the 2013 movie Half a Yellow Sun Ejiofor starred alongside Thandie Newton, OC Ukeje, Onyeka Onwenu and Genevieve Nnaji. Making an appearance on the red carpet at premieres of the film in London and Lagos alongside Ejiofor was leading Nigerian businessman and philanthropist Tunde Folawiyo, who has been a long-time patron of the country’s burgeoning film industry.
David Oyelowo was born in Oxford in April 1976. He attended a three year course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has appeared in movies such as The Last King of Scotland, The Butler, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Lincoln.
Born on December 12, 1978, Gbenga Akinnagbe spent his childhood in Silver Spring, Maryland, before going on to Bucknell University where he majored in political science and English. Gbenga’s movies include The Savages and The Taking of Pelham 123; he also appeared in the HBO TV series The Wire.
Caroline Chikezie was born in in 1974 and at the age of 14 went to boarding school in Nigeria. After returning to the UK she attended Brunel University and won a scholarship to the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. Caroline’s movies include Eragon, Paris Connections and Breaking and Entering.
Sonni Chidiebere has appeared in blockbuster movies such as Blood Diamond, Lord of War, District 92 and Hotel Rwanda.
Born in Lagos in June 1988, Dayo Okeniyi is best known for his portrayal of Thresh in the movie The Hunger Games. He is currently working on Terminator: Genesis, which is due for release in 2015.
Sophie Okonedo, born in September 1968, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She has been nominated for numerous awards for films that include Hotel Rwanda, Mrs Mandela, The Secret Life of Bees and A Raisin in the Sun.
Adepero Oduye’s Nigerian parents were living in Brooklyn, New York, when she was born in 1977 or 1978. Having graduated from Cornell University she took acting jobs in off-Broadway productions. Adepero went on to receive various nominations for her roles in movies such as Pariah, Steel Magnolias and 12 Years a Slave.
With role models such as these to look up to, anyone considering a career in movies should have all the motivation they need to become successful.