LONDON — Chiwetel Ejiofor will be honored at the British Independent Film Awards on Dec. 6. He will receive the Richard Harris Award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution to British film by an actor.
Previous recipients have included John Hurt, Bob Hoskins, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon and Emma Thompson.
Jared Harris, Harris’ son, commented: “Although the recipients of this award have all been embraced by the establishment, they all came from outside it, fought their way in on the strength of their talent, claimed their place and changed the status quo: a journey that describes Chiwetel’s career perfectly. His talent is immense, it has brought him deserved worldwide recognition, and he is in his prime.”
In 1996, Ejiofor caught the attention of Steven Spielberg who cast him in “Amistad,” opposite Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. In 2002, he was nominated for his first major awards: the BIFA for most promising newcomer and for best actor, which he won, for his performance in Stephen Frears’ thriller “Dirty Pretty Things.” Chiwetel’s career continued with roles in Richard Curtis’ “Love, Actually,” Woody Allen’s “Melinda and Melinda” and Julian Jarrold’s “Kinky Boots,” which drew another BIFA nomination.
Chiwetel has worked with an impressive roll-call of directors including Ridley Scott (“American Gangster,” “The Martian”), David Mamet (“Redbelt”), Tom Hooper (“Red Dust”), Spike Lee (“Inside Man”), and Alfonso Cuaron in “Children of Men.”
In 2014 Chiwetel starred in Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning “12 Years a Slave.” Chiwetel’s performance as Solomon Northup gained him Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, and won him a best actor BAFTA.
Chiwetel will be seen next in thriller “Secret in Their Eyes” with Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman and John Hillcoat’s heist crime thriller “Triple Nine” with Kate Winslet, Casey Affleck and Aaron Paul. He is now shooting “Marvel’s Doctor Strange” with Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton.