Fast Facts

  • As a child, lived for seven years in Nigeria, where his parents were born and his family descended from royalty.
  • Was a member of London's National Youth Music Theatre, which is where he met his wife.
  • Played King Henry VI in a 2001 Royal Shakespeare Company trilogy of the Bard's plays, and was the first black actor to portray an English king in an RSC production.
  • For his role in the British spy drama Spooks, he met with British-intelligence officers.
  • Cowrote a 2006 romantic comedy-drama for the BBC called Graham and Alice, about two London loners who decide to rob a betting shop.
  • Fulfilled a bucket-list wish by working with Steven Spielberg on 2012's Lincoln.
  • As part of the training for his role as a WWII Tuskegee Airman in 2012's Red Tails, he got to fly in vintage P-51 Mustangs.
  • Appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2016 New Year Honours.


  • 2013, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2013, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Nominee
  • 2015, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Male Lead: Nominee
  • 2015, Critics' Choice Television Awards — Best Actor in a Movie or Limited Series: Winner
  • 2015, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Nominee
  • 2015, Emmy — Outstanding Television Movie: Nominee
  • 2015, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie: Nominee
  • 2015, Critics' Choice Movie Awards — Best Actor: Nominee
  • 2016, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee


  • Asher Oyolewo — Son
  • Caleb Oyelowo — Son
  • Jessica Oyelowo — Wife


  • London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, London, England (1998)


  • Birth Place: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
  • Profession: Actor

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