David Oyelowo has reached out to fellow British actor Benedict Cumberbatch to give him his full support amid the "ridiculous" controversy over The Imitation Game star's use of the word "coloured".

The Oscar nominee came under fire this week (beg26Jan15) after using the term to describe black actors during a Tv interview in which he was talking about the lack of diversity in the U.K. entertainment industry.

Cumberbatch subsequently issued an apology, insisting he feels like "an idiot", but Oyelowo is adamant his friend should not be criticised for failing to use the correct terminology.

He tells the Bbc's Newsbeat, "I think it's ridiculous. When you look at what he was actually saying it's clear that he's a huge supporter of black performers. To attack him for a term, as opposed to what he was actually saying, I think is very disingenuous and is indicative of the age we live in where people are looking for soundbites as opposed to substance...

"I reached out to him in support and said I think it's ridiculous... He's a brilliant actor, he gives a brilliant performance in The Imitation Game and, like I say, it's just a diversion from what we should be talking about, which is that astounding performance."

The storm of controversy comes just weeks before Cumberbatch is due to compete for the Best Actor Oscar at the Academy Awards on 22 February (15).