Chiwetel Ejiofor who grew up in Forest Gate, East London is now an award-winning actor after taking home the BAFTA Award for Best Actor last night (February 16), thanks to his leading role in 12 Years A Slave. The actor thanked director of the film Steve McQueen for his vision, then went on to thank his film cast and family for their support. The film is based on the true story of New York based, family man Soloman Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a man drugged, kidnapped then sold into slavery.
The film is based on Soloman Northup’s memoirs of that period in his book ‘Twelve years a slave’ published in 1853. Lupita Nyong’o, who also stars in 12 Years A Slave, did not win in her category for Best Supporting Actress with the award going to Jennifer Lawrence for her role in American Hustle. However, 12 Years A Slave won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, with Steve McQueen proclaiming in his thank-you speech in regards to Nyong’o, “a star is born“.
McQueen also used the opportunity to shed light on slavery still happening today, he said: “There are 21 million people in slavery today. There are Solomon Northups around the world that were taken away from their families“. He ended the speech by thanking his Mother who “had faith and told me to never give up“.
Alfonso Cuaron’s film Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney took home the most awards winning in six categories. They won in the categories for Best Director, Sound, Visual Effects, Cinematography, Original Music and Outstanding British Film. The BAFTAs also paid tribute to actors who passed away in the last year which included Phillip Seymour Hoffman.