David Oyelowo is recognised most for his role as Danny Hunter in the BBC TV series Spooks and has also starred in one-off dramas for the BBC entitled Shoot the Messenger and Born Equal.
He made history by becoming the first black man to play an English king (Henry VI) for the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Kenneth Branagh, who directed Oyelowo in the film As You Like It, says: "He has a talent - and he has a talent for his talent. He works hard at it, he maximises everything he has". Oyelowo's other films include the Oscar-nominated The Last King of Scotland.
Born into a Christian family in Oxford in 1976, David moved to Nigeria with his family when he was six. Once there, he realised that his father's family was in fact royalty!
He is married to actress Jessica Oyelowo and they have two sons together.
They moved to Los Angeles (from Brighton) in 2007 so that he can pursue a Hollywood career. He is currently playing the blues musician Muddy Waters in a film biopic about the birth of Chicago blues.
Oyelowo is very vocal about his Christian faith and credits all his success to God.
"For me, there are three important things in my life - God first, family second, and work third, in that order," he has said.
"I think it's vital to have something outside your acting to keep you rooted in the real world and help you fill the vacuum. If you have nothing else, it can be unhealthy. For me being a Christian has been invaluable: it simply means acting isn't the centre of my life."