Belfast Telegraph

Poliakoff called Ejiofor Oscar nod

Stephen Poliakoff has revealed that he predicted Chiwetel Ejiofor would be nominated for an Oscar in his 12 Years A Slave performance when he first got the part.

Chiwetel starred in BBC drama Dancing On The Edge which was written and directed by Stephen, and was cast in the film based on Solomon Northup's memoir as shooting for the TV series drew to a close.

Stephen said of working with the actor, who was nominated for best leading man for the film at the Oscars this year: "It was his time, I really did have a sense that it was his time.

"He got 12 Years A Slave when we were just finishing shooting. He was going to go on to do that and I remember saying, 'You'll be nominated for an Oscar.'

"I knew nothing about the movie, so that was nice that it came to pass."

The director described Chiwetel's reaction to his prediction: "His eyes shone. Obviously I was joking because I had no idea the movie would be so successful, but it sounded very interesting and a fantastic lead role for him, and I know what an amazing actor he is, so it wasn't such a wild punt."

Stephen also said he was working on a new TV series similar to Dancing On The Edge that had just been commissioned by BBC Two for next year.

He said: "I'm writing a cousin to it. I never wanted to do a sequel, especially because getting that cast together again would have been difficult, but I'm doing another moment of history for BBC Two. "

Stephen collected the best actor award on Chiwetel's behalf for Dancing On The Edge at the BPG Awards 2014, sponsored by Discovery Channel and held at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

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