Idris Elba is the man to beat the 2014 Academy Awards for his portrayal of South African President Nelson Mandela, according to the bookmakers, anyway. Elba's star has risen in recent years thanks to BBC series Luther, rumors of the James Bond role and a role in Guillermo Del Toro's latest blockbuster Pacific Rim.

Idris Elba Nelson MandelaNaomie Harris
Idris Elba [L] as Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris [R] as Winnie Mandela

The first trailer for upcoming biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - from The Other Boleyn Girl director Justin Chadwick - rolled out online this week and features a startling, if limited, first look at Hackney-born Elba's performance "No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin. People learn to hate. They can be taught to love for love comes more naturally to the human heart," goes the spine-tingling voiceover as Mandela moves across the valley. It appears Elba - wearing Mandela's signature yellow shirt - has got the President's poise down to a tee.

The expansive biopic - co-starring Bond girl Naomie Harris as Mandela's wife Winnie - charts the politicians rise from anti-apartheid revolutionary to the first democratically elected President of South Africa. 

Watch the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom trailer:

Long Walk to Freedom is already generating Oscars buzz and there's a certainly couple of clues to suggest it may well feature at the awards' ceremonies at the back end of the year. Firstly, the Academy LOVES a historical biopic. Secondly, big-wig Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is distributing the movie and, thirdly, it's written by William Nicholson who penned Gladiator (2000) and last year's big-screen adaptation of Les Miserables. Without sounding overly macabre, it's also no secret that Mandela is not in the greatest of health at the moment.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom hits theaters on a limited run in the U.S. on November 29, 2013. UK audiences can see the movie from January 3 2014.

Idris ElbaIdris Elba - Who Plays Nelson Mandela - At The Pacific Rim Premiere

Naomie Harris
Naomie Harris Plays Mandela's Wife Winnie