The actor's convincing breakthrough performance as a Nigerian doctor/illegal immigrant in the 2002 British drama Dirty Pretty Things can be attributed to the fact that he based it on his own physician father. Unfortunately, his real-life dad died in a tragic car accident that also left the then-11-year-old Ejiofor with a prominent scar on his forehead. Despite this tragedy, Ejiofor pursued his performing dreams and made an auspicious big-screen debut at age 20 in Steven Spielberg's 1997 slave drama Amistad. The theater-trained actor spent the next few years on the English stage, racking up rave reviews, notably for his Olivier-nominated turn as a schizophrenic in Blue/Orange, which also netted him a Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Although Dirty Pretty Things established him as a formidable screen presence that led to a slew of work in auteur-helmed films (Spike Lee's She Hate Me and Inside Man, Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda, John Singleton's Four Brothers), Ejiofor earned a pair of Golden Globe nominations in 2007 for contrasting roles as Lola, a singing drag queen with a penchant for fancy footwear in the feature Kinky Boots, and in the TV-movie Tsunami: The Aftermath, playing a dad desperately searching for his missing daughter. Heading back to the London stage in 2007, he won the Laurence Olivier award for best actor playing the lead role in Othello. Continuing to excel in a variety of genres, he starred in Roland Emmerich's 2009 end-of-the world action flick 2012, and played a CIA agent opposite Angelina Jolie in 2010's spy thriller Salt.
- At 11, was involved in a car accident that killed his father and left a visible scar on Chiwetel's forehead.
- Acting experience started at the prestigious National Youth Theatre in London when he was a young teen; he later attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art on a scholarship.
- First big-screen role was in Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997).
- Won a British Independent Film Award for best actor in Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2002).
- In 2008, won the best actor Laurence Olivier award for his performance in the Donmar Warehouse production of Othello, which costarred Ewan McGregor as Iago.
- Interviewed CIA agents in preparation of his role opposite Angelina Jolie in the 2010 spy thriller Salt.
- Appointed a CBE (a Commander of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in her 2015 Birthday Honours.
- 2007, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
- 2007, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
- 2010, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
- 2007, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2014, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Male Lead: Nominee
- 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie: Nominee
- 2013, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
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- 2008, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Winner
- 2003, European Film Awards — European Actor: Nominee
- 2013, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2014, BAFTA Film Awards — Best Leading Actor: Winner
- 2014, Critics' Choice Television Awards — Best Actor in a Movie or Mini-Series: Nominee
- 2014, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
- 2014, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
- 2004, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
- 2014, Critics' Choice Movie Awards — Best Actor: Nominee
- 2006, BAFTA Film Awards — Rising Star Award: Nominee
- 2008, Olivier Awards — Best Actor: Winner
- 2013, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role: Nominee
- 2001, Olivier Awards — Best Supporting Actor: Nominee
- Arinze Ejiofor — Father
- Radha Mitchell — Ex-significant Other
- Obiajulu Ejiofor — Mother
- Sari Mercer — Significant Other
- London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, London, England
- Birth Place: Forest Gate, London, England
- Profession: Actor