Chiwetel EjioforAn extremely versatile actor, Ejiofor, 36, has appeared as a drag queen in Kinky Boots, a CIA agent in Salt, and a jazz pianist in Melinda and Melinda. To play the role of Solomon Northup, a free man who is duped and then sold into slavery, Ejiofor, who is English, prepared for 10 months. In one of the movie’s most powerful scenes, he is left for what feels like an eternity to hang from a tree by a noose, his toes barely touching the ground. “When we filmed that sequence, it was around 108 degrees,” Ejiofor recalled. “In that moment, I understood how slavery decimated men’s will and their souls. Prada suit and shirt; Balenciaga shoes.