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David Oyelowo: Biography at a Glance

  • Received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 film “Selma”
  • Stars in the TV series “The Lion Guard”
  • Film credits include “A Most Violent Year,” “Interstellar,” “The Butler,” “Lincoln,” “Jack Reacher,” “The Paperboy” and “The Help”
  • Played the title role in “Henry VI,” becoming the first black actor to portray an English king for the Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Stage credits include “The Suppliants,” “The God Botherers” and “Prometheus Bound”
  • Appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to drama

David Oyelowo (pronounced – “oh-yellow-oh”), a classically trained stage actor who is working successfully and simultaneously in film, television and theater, has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and received the “Scholarship for Excellence” from Nicholas Hytner in 1998.

David received critical acclaim for his portrayal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 2014 film Selma. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and won an NAACP Image Award for his role. The film also scored a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture. David also earned an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for his starring role in the HBO drama Nightingale and was recently seen in A Most Violent Year, Interstellar and Lee Daniels' The Butler.

David received numerous accolades for the recent independent film, The Middle of Nowhere, which screened to rave reviews at the 2012 Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals. David received nominations for “Best Supporting Actor” for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards and the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards for his role.

He also was seen in Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed drama Lincoln, which led the 2013 Oscar race with a total of 12 nominations, including Best Picture. In 2012, he starred opposite Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, a drama based on a book in Lee Child’s popular crime series. In The Paperboy David stars opposite Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron. Directed by Lee Daniels, the film follows a journalist and his writing partner, who return to a small hometown to uncover the truth about a death row inmate, whom they believe was wrongly convicted.

Additional film credits include Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the Academy Award-nominated drama The Help, 96 Minutes, Default, The Last King of Scotland, Who Do You Love, A Sound of Thunder, Derailed, The Best Man and the acclaimed BBC2 film Shoot the Messenger.

Oyelowo first impressed audiences on the stage when he starred in The Suppliants at the Gate Theatre playing 'King Palasgus,' for which he received the Ian Charleson award commendation. Following this he played the title role of Henry VI, becoming the first black actor to play an English king for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The role won him The Ian Charleson Award and an Evening Standard award nomination. Other theatre credits include an acclaimed performance in Richard Bean’s The God Botherers at the Bush Theatre and the title role in the off-Broadway production of Prometheus Bound, for which David received rave reviews.

Beyond theatre, David starred in the BAFTA award-winning series Spooks/MI:5, Small Island, the BBC1 original television movie Born Equal and ABC’s 2008 production of A Raisin in the Sun alongside Sanaa Lathan and Sean “Puffy” Combs.

He made his U.S. debut in two HBO productions As You Like It and Five Days, for which he won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his performance.

David currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

“He was superb. The auditorium was nearly full and his interview was quite the success. I hope he enjoyed his time on the campus, I know the students did.”

Dickinson College

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