Wendell over at Dell on Movies always has the greatest ideas for Blogathons. This time, he asks us to highlight black actors. I'd love to write a brilliant think piece on an actor or performance I love, but the truth is, I'm not very good at it. So I decided to go with a top 10 list of great performances by black actors in no particular order.
1) Adepero Oduye - Pariah
When I first saw the blogathon, this is who I wanted to write about, but I can barely put into words how amazing Oduye is in this film. She's so tragic and strong and moving. This is just a powerful film all together.
2) Akosua Busia - The Color Purple
"Nothing but death can keep me from it." I cry every single time I watch this scene. Busia has a small part in this film, but she leaves a lasting impact. I couldn't stop thinking of her as the film kept playing and Celie, the main character grew older. My mind always went back to Nettie. The acting in this film is outstanding all around.
3) Tyrese Gibson - Baby Boy
Okay, let me explain. This is my best friend since childhood's favorite movie. Both of us perved over Gibson when we were in high school, but this film, despite being really hard to watch at times is very nostalgic to me. I think of watching it with my friend in nights when we snuck home after getting drunk. Tyrese's intense performance is a good way to sober up. His character is a massive fuck up, you can't look away.
4) Don Cheadle - Manic
It's hard to choose a Don Cheadle performance. This guy is great in everything, but one that always stands out to me is this little film called Manic. He plays a doctor in a rehabilitation facility for teenagers, and he's perfect in this role. He's caring, comforting, stern, and realistic. Everything someone in that film needs to be.
5) Rosario Dawson - Explicit Ills
Like Cheadle, Dawson is consistently good and I also wanted to talk about a performance of hers in a little film. She plays a very dedicated mother trying her hardest to get her son's asthma medicine. There's a lot of great performances in this film but Dawson stands out. She has a comforting presence. (
6) Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland
This is one of my favorite movies and Forest Whitaker is an absolute force. In the course of the film he goes from charming to terrifying so seamlessly.
7) Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I should start off by saying I hated this movie. I really did, I hated every single minute of it except when Henson was on screen. She was wonderful, she was heartbreaking, her character was a good person and she was a bright light in this bleak film. I legitimately got super pissed when Button's daughter ended up being named after his bio mom instead of her. Fuck that.
8) Samuel L. Jackson - Pulp Fiction
I think this is the most quotable performance on my list. Jackson is perfection in Pulp Fiction. What else can I say? He always plays characters that have this "cool" vibe to him and Jules is just a badass.
9) Morgan Freeman - Se7en
Another one of my favorite films. Freeman's wise detective serves as our anchor. Brad Pitt's character is impulsive, Freeman's isn't. He's steady and smart and in a film like this, we need Morgan Freeman to keep us calm.
10) Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan - Love & Basketball
I cheated. I couldn't choose just one of them. This is another nostalgic film for me. I played basketball in high school and my entire team loved this movie. Epps and Lathan had amazing chemistry. That scene where they shoot and strip? *cues SNL's "First Got Horny 2U*
Taye Diggs in everything he touches - that guy oozes charisma.
Issac Hayes in South Park. - Chef is an icon. Even though Hayes left on bad terms, and that was really hard for South Park fans, his legacy before all that drama lives on.
Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station - This was the first film I saw Jordan in and what a way to start - he's wonderful.
Meagan Good in Brick. - This is very small role, but her character kept it real. I love that.
Mya Taylor in Tangerine - More of her, please.
Queen Latifah in Hairspray - I love the remake far more than the original and she was so perfect in it. Shout out to Elijah Kelly as well.
Daniel Kaluuya in The Fades - It was great seeing him taking a dramatic turn in Sicario this year to show is range, but I always love him as the goofy side kick in this short lived British series.
Abraham Attah in Beasts of No Nation - One of my favorite lead performances of this year.
Thanks for hosting, Wendell!