There’s buzz about Nigerian-British actor Carmen Ejogo. Some say she’ll win an Oscar in 2015 for her performance as Coretta Scott King in “Selma.” She’s not exactly a household name yet, and has flown below the radar in recent years, though her performances turned heads over the decades in films such as “Metro” and “Sparkle.” Here’s 10 things you didn’t know about Carmen Ejogo that you can impress your friends with when she becomes (we predict) super famous.
Sources: eurweb.com, imdb.com, independent.co.uk, fandango.com
Born in London on the first day of 1974, Ejogo is the daughter of Nigerian-born business man, Charles Egojo, and a Scottish tour guide, Elizabeth Douglas Ejogo. She and her younger brother, also named Charles, had a very traditional Catholic-school upbringing. Her neighbor growing up was an art director, and lured her into some appearances in pop videos, which in turn led her to a few modelling gigs.
Ejogo’s magnetizing small-screen persona led to her very own satellite channel show called “The Carmen Ejogo Video Show.” She was only 16 when she became an entertainment front liner, and at age 20 was living in the U.S. presenting Saturday Disney and earning an impressive living.
Flash back to 1986. Carmen is starring in her first minor film role opposite rocker David Bowie in the musical, “Absolute Beginners.” Fast forward 11 years. She is playing Veronica “Ronnie” Tate, the girlfriend of a hostage negotiator played by Eddie Murphy in the comedy/action “Metro.” The role catapulted her to screens worldwide. It was her first major breakthrough.
You might have missed a bunch, because even though her talent and presence have always been alluring, she was not as famous as Julia Roberts. She did have a small role in the 1998 (flop!) movie “The Avengers,” opposite Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes; a more front-and-center position as Maria in Kenneth Branagh’s 2000 update of Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” and a supporting role as Maya Rudolph’s sister in the hipster comedy, “Away we Go.” All these were bricks in the road.
That would be the high IQ brainiac organization. Carmen clocks in at around 156. “But I probably wouldn’t be able to get as high a score after raising two kids and losing a lot of brain cells in the process.” (Ejogo, Eurweb).
The 2012 film “Sparkle” seemed like a desperate attempt to ride off the “Dreamgirls” coattails. It depicts three sisters who form a girl group in the latter part of the 1950s. It is also famous for being Whitney Houston’s last onscreen appearance. While the movie didn’t really take off, critics almost unanimously zoned in on Ejogo. “As for Carmen Ejogo, as the cynical Sister, she is mind-blowing. What a performance… If this turn doesn’t cop her an Oscar nomination, there is no justice,” ululated Liz Smith of the Huffington Post. “If there is any justice, Ejogo will become famous soon…she leaves nothing out, holds nothing back,” raved Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle.
She’s also an accomplished vocalist. Her “Yes I Do” singing performance in “Sparkle” is full of power. Before her film career took off, she was recording in the ’90s with artists like Alex Reece (for the song “Candles”) and collaborating with the artist Tricky, who she married briefly in 1998.
For the last almost 15 years, she’s been knot-tied with the great actor Jeffrey Wright. They live in Brooklyn and have two children, Elijah and Juno. “I think we definitely see eye-to-eye in terms of the type of work we choose,” she said. (The Independent).
How she met Mr. Wright (pun intended): she played the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2001 TV movie, “Boycott,” and Jeffrey played Dr. King. How many actors play the same role twice? She’s one of them…
“Selma” is directed by American auteur Ava DuVernay and will be released during this holiday season. The Oscar buzz is deafening for David Oyelowo as Dr. King, and for Ejogo’s portraying the fierce Coretta Scott King. Take a peek at most Academy Awards prediction sites. Ejogo’s name pops up frequently on the supporting actress prognosticator’s lists.