Elba, 41, has been nominated for his highly-acclaimed role as the late Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, while Ejiofor’s leading performance in 12 Years A Slave has earned him an nod.
If either were to win for Best Actor, it would mark the first time a black British actor had won the Golden Globe.
Steve McQueen’s historical epic 12 Years A Slave, which was made in Hollywood but backed by strong British talent, has been nominated for Best Picture.
The British director has also won a nomination for his achievements behind the camera, while Michael Fassbender has been nominated for Best Supporting actor for his performance in the film.
The Golden Globes are widely seen as a reliable predictor for the Academy Awards, giving the strongest indicator yet that Elba and Ejiofor could be in the running for an Oscar.
Sidney Poiter was the first African American man to win an Oscar for Best Actor in 1963, but no black British actor has yet to win the accolade.
Earlier this year, Homeland star David Harewood encouraged “young black British actors to get to America if they have ambition”, highlighting the limited acting roles available in Britain.
Elba, who was born and bred in Hackney, London, secured the lead role in BBC drama Luther after first establishing himself in US TV series The Wire, playing drugs baron Russell ‘Stringer’ Bell.
The actor’s role in Luther won him the Golden Globe for Best Mini Series Actor in 2010.
Ejiofor, 36, has been nominated three times previously at the Golden Globes, for roles in Endgame, Kinky Boots and Tsunami: The Aftermath.
The actor plays Solomon Northup in 12 Years A Slave, a free man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery.
Award-winning British film composer Alex Heffes has received a Best Original Score nomination for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, while other home successes include Philomena, and biographical sports drama Rush.
Sally Hawklins, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson are among the nominated British actresses.
The Golden Globes ceremony will be held in Beverly Hills on 12 January, hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
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