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Top black British talent honoured at Screen Nation Awards

AWARD WINNER: Ejiofor and his partner Sari Mercer earlier this month (PA)

WHILE AFRICAN American stars were rolling down the red carpet at the annual NAACP Image Awards, the great and good of black film and TV in Britain were doing the same.

The stars were out came out in force for the ninth Screen Nation Awards for a celebration of leading professionals of African heritage from the UK and overseas.

Held on Sunday (Feb 23) at the Park Plaza Riverbank, in central London, and hosted by comedian Ali Baba and actress Carolina Chikezie, the ceremony was themed Nigeria at 100 with a special celebration of black British female talent.

Celebrities from the music, sports and television and film industries appeared on the red carpet such as actor Ashley Walters, whose wife debuted her pregnancy bump, ex-Eastenders actor Charles ‘Chucky’ Venn and newcomer Khali Best who currently stars in the soap drama.

British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor won Best Male performance for his role as Solomon Northup in Steve McQueen film 12 Years A Slave.

Ejiofor’s co-star, Kenyan newcomer Lupita Nyong’o, received a nod for her remarkable performance as Patsey, a young slave girl working on a cotton plantation in Louisiana in the Female African International Emerging talent category.

Idris Elba won for his turn in BBC’s Luther, while his co-star in the Nelson Mandela biopic Long Walk to Freedom, Naomie Harris was awarded for her role as Winnie Mandela.

The Real McCoy actor and comedian Felix Dexter who passed away last October following a battle with cancer, was given The Eric Connor Inspiration Posthumous Award.

Playwright Bola Agbaje won for Gone Too Far, a film adaptation of her award-winning play while former Holby City star Jimmy Akingbola won the Favourite Male Star.

This year also included a Classic Movie Award handed to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, which is celebrating its 25th year since its release.

Channel 4’s most successful comedy of all time Desmond’s received the Classic TV Award – prior to its 25th anniversary year and as did The Cosby Show, the iconic American comedy classic, which reaches its 30th anniversary year.

Selected list of winners:

HONORARY & MAJOR AWARDS

Classic Movie award: Do The Right Thing

Classic TV (International) award: The Cosby Show

Classic TV (UK) award: Desmond's

The Edric Connor Inspiration award: Felix Dexter (Posthumously)

Outstanding Contribution award: Bill Duke

Diversity in Factual Production award: First Amongst Equals: The Laurie Cunningham Story - ITV1

Favourite International Movie (made by or starring British talent) award (voted by public): 12 Years A Slave

Favourite Female African International Rising Screen Talent award (voted by public): Lupita Nyong'o

Best Male Performance in Film award: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Best Female Performance in Film award: Naomie Harris

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