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From Nollywood to Hollywood: Actors who made it big globally in 2023

From Nollywood to Hollywood: Actors who made it big globally in 2023

Hollywood has long been a cultural melting pot, and Nigerian performers have played an important role in defining the industry.

Several Nigerian actors who were born or raised outside of Nigeria made an impact on the global scene, starring in big Hollywood films and television shows.

This is a testament to Nigerian actors’ growing talent and fame, who are bringing their own perspectives and tales to Hollywood.

The success of these performers demonstrates Nigerians’ growing global recognition and the wealth of talent in the African film industry.

It is also an encouragement to many young performers who wish to pursue careers on the international stage.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Umeadi Ejiofor, a British actor, was born in London to middle-class Nigerian Igbo parents. He has had a significant impact on the global film industry. He has received multiple award nominations for his remarkable performances in films such as “12 Years a Slave,” “Half of a Yellow Sun,” and “Doctor Strange”.

In 2019, Ejiofor made his directorial debut with “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” a wonderful work based on a true story that demonstrates his abilities as both an actor and a director. The film received tremendous recognition for its captivating storytelling.

Ejiofor’s commitment to the cinematic arts is further demonstrated by his future project, an American biographical drama film titled “Rob Peace,” in which he serves as writer and director, demonstrating his versatility and impact in the film industry.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is also known for his charitable work in Nigeria, and he was awarded the Global Promise Award for his dedication to make a good difference in the lives of others. His success demonstrates his unshakable dedication to his art, as well as his ability to intrigue audiences all over the world with his talent and commitment to narrative.

Read also: AFRIFF 2023: Hollywood, Nollywood combine for stellar jury lineup

Uzo Aduba

Uzo Aduba

Uzoamaka Nwanneka “Uzo” Aduba, an American actress best known for her appearances in “Orange Is the New Black” and “In Treatment,” has two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series to her credit.

She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Nigerian parents, and began acting in high school before going on to formal training at Boston University and the American Conservatory Theatre.

In 2023, Aduba portrayed Edie Flowers, a former medical examiner, in a series about a class-action lawsuit against Purdue Pharma.

The way she played effectively portrayed Edie’s intelligence, determination, compassion, and the tremendous emotions she experienced, establishing her as the series’ heart and remarkable talent.

Aduba’s journey is an inspiration to budding performers all around the world. Her exceptional adaptability and accomplishment in the face of adversity make her a great industry role model.

Gina Yashere

Gina Yashere

Regina Obedapo Iyashere is a British comedian and actress who has appeared on both British and American television.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, she began her comedy career in the early 1990s and gained recognition as a finalist in the prestigious Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 1996.

Yashere explored a career in television in 2017, obtaining a brief prominent job as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” Throughout her season career on the show, her smart analysis and sense of humour made her a standout.

Yashere began playing a supporting part on the Chuck Lorre CBS sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola,” which she co-created with Lorre, in September 2019.

She also contributes writing to the show and plays Abishola’s best friend, Kemi. “Bob Hearts Abishola” is famous for featuring a Nigerian family, and it has left an impression.

Regina Yashere is a brilliant comedian and actress, who serves as a role model for budding actors and comedians. Her story is an encouragement to everyone.

John Boyega

John Boyega

John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega is a British actor of Nigerian heritage who was born in Camberwell and grew up in Peckham.

He is most known for his starring role of Finn in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. His lengthy career demonstrates outstanding talent and irresistible personality, cementing his important position in Hollywood.
In 2023, Boyega played a pivotal part in “They Cloned Tyrone.” When the government clones Fontaine, a struggling drug dealer in a distrusting community, he seizes the opportunity to oppose repressive forces.

Boyega’s acting gives Fontaine depth and humour, making the character sympathetic. Fontaine’s transformation into a symbol of resistance and optimism serves as a striking reminder that even the most marginalized people may impact change.

John Boyega’s multiple award nominations and wins highlight his continued success, which is a source of pride for the Nigerian and African diaspora, as well as a testimonial to his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the profession of acting.

Read also: Hollywood 2023 blockbuster fails highlights year of financial turmoil



Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, a British actor, born in London to Nigerian parents of Yoruba origin, known for roles in “The Mummy Returns,” “Lost,” “Oz,” and “Suicide Squad,” began his acting career in the early 1990s with British TV appearances.

In 2012, he made his filmmaking ambition with “Farming,” a film based on his life story. The film shed light on the practice of Nigerian parents sending their children to white UK families, winning the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

In the 2022 film “Marlowe,” Akinnuoye-Agbaje portrayed Floyd Hanson, a powerful and enigmatic club manager. His performance effectively conveyed the character’s ruthlessness and enigmatic nature, especially in action sequences, adding depth to Hanson’s morally complex character.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s career has earned him well-deserved fame and accolades in both film and television. His entrance into cinema with “Farming” illustrates his attention to storytelling, and his diverse career attests to his talent and dedication.

David Oyelowo

David Oyelowo

David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo, a British actor, producer and director, born in England to Nigerian parents, He is celebrated for his roles in “Selma,” “Lincoln,” and “A United Kingdom.” He’s also made a mark in television with appearances in series like “Spooks” and “The Underground Railroad.”

“The Water Man,” David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut, is a 2020 American drama film written by Emma Needell.

In 2023, he appeared in the American science fiction dystopian drama series “Silo,” playing Holston Becker, Allison’s dedicated husband and the Silo’s sheriff.

Oyelowo’s exceptional ability to bring historical narratives to life through his acting is evidence of African talent’s global influence. He has received various accolades and honors. His dedication to storytelling that has a global audience illustrates the power of real and captivating narrative.

Read also: Nollywood’s first Netflix horror series raises nostalgia

Yvonne Orji

Yvonne Orji

Yvonne Anuli Orji is a Nigerian-American comedian and actress who was born in Rivers State to Igbo parents. She is well recognized for her portrayal of Molly Carter in HBO’s “Insecure.”

In 2016, Orji received her first major role as Molly Carter in “Insecure.” The musical has been an international and economic success, and Orji’s performance has received widespread praise.

In addition to “Insecure,” Orji has appeared in “Night School” and “Vacation Friends 2.” She also appears regularly at comedy clubs and festivals throughout the world.

Orji played Tess, the divorced wife of hidden bounty hunter Terry, in My Dad the Bounty Hunter in 2023. Orji also secured a two-year first-look deal with Sony Pictures Television in 2023.

Orji is a skilled actress and comedian who has had a lot of success in the industry. She is an inspiration to aspiring performers and comedians everywhere. Her tale is a source of inspiration for all of us.

Rotimi Akinosho

Rotimi Akinosho
Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

Olurotimi Akinosho, better known as Rotimi, is a Nigerian-American actor, singer, and model, born in New Jersey to a Nigerian family of Yoruba heritage.

He is most recognized for his roles in the Starz drama series Boss as Andre Coleman and the Power franchise as Darius Morrison.

Rotimi made his Hollywood debut in the Amazon Prime Video romantic comedy film Coming 2 America, the sequel to the 1988 film Coming to America.

Rotimi’s success in Hollywood is a result of his talent and dedication. He is a dynamic actor who has demonstrated his ability to perform a range of characters.

He is also a talented singer and dancer, which he has exploited to his advantage in his career.

Rotimi is an inspiration to many Nollywood actors who aspire to make it big in Hollywood. He is a role model for young Africans who dream of pursuing their careers on the global stage.