After dominating the critics awards and top 10 listings at the end of the year, 12 Years a Slave is the film to beat. And things got much more serious with this week's Bafta nominations, while the Golden Globes come this weekend and then Oscar nominations are out next Wednesday.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel EjioforBenedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave

So by this time next week everyone should be able to pronounce Chiwetel Ejiofor's name properly. To impress your friends: it's CHEW-it-ell EDGY-oh-for.

The 36-year-old Ejiofor is a well-known star in Britain, breaking onto the scene with the TV movie Deadly Voyage in 1996 before a small role in Steven Spielberg's Amistad.

This put him on course to work with top filmmakers including Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things), Woody Allen (Melinda and Melinda), Spike Lee (She Hate Me), John Singleton (Four Brothers), Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men), Ridley Scott (American Gangster), David Mamet (Redbelt), Roland Emerich (2012) and now Steve McQueen.

Read our review of 12 Years a Slave here

He has been nominated for five Golden Globes (twice this year, for 12 Years a Slave and the British miniseries Dancing on the Edge). He has also won London theatre awards for performances in Blue/Orange and in Shakespeare's Othello opposite Ewan McGregor.

And yet, even though he played Keira Knightley's husband in Love Actually and the villain in Serenity, it wasn't until this year that the rest of the world took notice. He is joined by a truly memorable cast in Steve McQueen's emotive drama, with stunning performances across the board, yet he still manages to steal the show.

Following his work in 12 Years a Slave, no one will be able forget him now. Especially after he wins the Oscar on March 2nd.

Watch the 12 Years a Slave trailer