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David Oyelowo, actor
After supporting roles in two of the breakout summer hits of 2011 -- playing a pastor in the civil-rights drama "The Help" and an unscrupulous pharmaceutical company boss in the sci-fi film "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" -- English actor David Oyelowo (pronounced "oh-yellow-oh") is poised to team with very big names this year. His next role is the scrappy fighter pilot Joe "Lightning" Little in the George Lucas-produced "Red Tails," about the all-black World War II squadron known as the Tuskegee Airmen. A longtime passion project for Lucas, the film opens Jan. 20 and also stars Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. Later in the year, Oyelowo, 35, will appear in Steven Spielbergs star-studded historical drama "Lincoln," which stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president as well as Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field. Other upcoming films for Oyelowo include "The Paperboy," with Nicole Kidman, and "One Shot," with Tom Cruise.
An accomplished stage actor, Oyelowo is also known for his work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
-- Oliver Gettell