In about 40 minutes, the Oscars will begin and there are a host of immigrants nominated, just as there are every year. Several are in the top categories and I'll highlight several nominees and winners over the next few days. I did want to start out with a British actor of Nigerian heritage who starred in a very American film.

Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup in Twelve Years a Slave, the story of a free man in New York state who is kidnapped and sold in to slavery in Louisiana in the 1840s. I read the book a few months ago and the story is amazing.

Ejiofor has become a well known actor in Hollywood. He was discovered by Steven Spielberg and starred in Amistad in 1997. He later starred opposite Don Cheadle in Talk to Me and had a role in Phil Spector.

Ejiofor's own upbringing was not without tragedy. He was in a car accident in Nigeria at the age of 11 in which his father, a physician, was killed. He was badly injured and still has facial scars. Ejiofor's sister, by the way, is CNN reporter Zain Asher.