×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Diverse Lineup of Actors Jostle for Awards Attention

It’s been less than four years since #OscarsSoWhite became a hot topic at the Academy Awards after 2015 films like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” failed to land major nominations for people of color. (It actually began the year before but picked up steam when, for the second year in a row, no people of color were recognized in any of the acting categories.) In the time since, the Academy has made conscious efforts to diversify the voting body; the governing body voted unanimously to double female and minority members by 2020. And risk-averse Hollywood seems to finally be learning that telling stories where the characters represent the real world can pay off — take the success this year of “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman,” just to name a few.

This year saw many wonderful performances by actors of color in all categories. The always amazing Viola Davis led a quartet of tough ladies in “Widows,” while newcomer KiKi Layne was a marvelous discovery as an unwed pregnant girl in “If Beale Street Could Talk.” “Roma’s” Yalitza Aparico is another newcomer — this is her first acting gig ever — but she displayed the talent of some actors with twice as much experience in Alfonso Cuaron’s autobiographical pic. Though only 20 years old, Amandla Stenberg is hardly new to the business; still, she leads “The Hate U Give” with a steady hand. Her mother in that film, Regina Hall, has picked up some awards buzz thanks to a NYFCC best actress win and nominations from The Gotham and Independent Spirit Awards for her turn in “Support the Girls.”

The actor race could see several performers land attention for their breakthrough turns: John David Washington struck a perfect tone in “BlacKkKlansman” while Chadwick Boseman proved himself a star in “Black Panther.” Rami Malek and Lin-Manuel Miranda charmed with musical turns in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Mary Poppins Returns,” respectively. On the indie scene, Stephan James (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), LaKeith Stanfield (“Sorry to Bother You”), Daveed Diggs (“Blindspotting”) and John Cho (“Searching”) all proved compelling leads.

The supporting categories look to offer more sure things in the way of nominations: Regina King (“Beale Street”) and Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) are considered locks, if not frontrunners for their turns. Supporting actress could also see a pair of tough matriarchs recognized with Michelle Yeoh in “Crazy Rich Asians” and Marina de Tavira in “Roma.” There’s also three women of “Black Panther” — Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira — to contend with, and a pair of supporting “Widows” in Michelle Rodriguez and Cynthia Erivo. On the actor side, Michael B. Jordan could likely land his first nom for his role in “Black Panther,” while a strong case can be made for other actors like Daniel Kaluuya (“Widows”), Brian Tyree Henry (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Russell Hornsby (“The Hate U Give”) and Raul Castillo (“We the Animals.”)

Behind the camera, there’s a strong chance there will be more than one African-American director nominated with Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) and Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”) looking more and more likely. Alfonso Cuaron seems a lock for “Roma,” while Barry Jenkins is making a strong case with “Beale Street.” It’s also been a great year for women behind the camera, from Marielle Heller’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” to Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider” to Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace” garnering excellent buzz.
It remains to be seen how things will pan out when the nominations are announced Jan. 22, but when there are so many excellent films showcasing such a wide range of talented people, it seems everybody wins.

More Film

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Personal Tales From Hong Kong, China

    Personal Tales From Hong Kong and China Among the Asia Film Financing Forum Projects

    A brace of personal tales from China and Hong Kong are among the 23 projects vying for attention at the 17th Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. Liu Miaomiao is a rare female ethnic Hui Muslim filmmaker. She came to international prominence with 1993’s “Chatterbox” that won the President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal [...]

  • Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year

    Josie Ho Makes 2019 the Year She Takes Risks in Her Film Choices

    Josie Ho vows to master the art of calculated risk in the year 2019. As an actress and film producer, she is conscious of the choices of projects she makes: appearing in the new film by Japanese hotshot director Shinichiro Ueda, producing a new documentary feature while developing some 10 titles in the pipeline of [...]

  • FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to

    FilMart: Big Data, Content Key to iQIYI's Online Ambitions

    Tech and data play a huge role for iQIYI, China’s second-largest streaming platform, as a way to innovate and step out ahead of its competitors, iQIYI founder and CEO Yu Gong explained in a keynote speech Monday at FilMart. “We don’t see a lot of innovation-driven entertainment companies yet. We want to be the one,” [...]

  • Ted Sarandos and Thierry Fremaux'Okja' photocall,

    Despite Ongoing Peace Talks, Netflix Won't Have Any Movies at Cannes 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Although Netflix and the Cannes Film Festival continue quietly to negotiate a potential settlement to their differences, the streaming giant will be absent from the Croisette again this year with no film in or out of competition, Variety has learned. The ongoing talks between the two sides have been friendly, including a dinner in Los [...]

  • Series Mania Showcases Shlomi Elkabetz-Produced Series

    Series Mania to Showcase Shlomi Elkabetz-Produced Series 'The Dreamers'

    “The Dreamers,” one of the series to be presented at Series Mania’s Co-Pro Pitching Sessions, is a 10-part crime comedy produced by prominent Israeli filmmaker Shlomi Elkabetz (“Gett”) and Galit Cachlon at Deux Beaux Garcons Films. Produced for Israeli cable TV operator HOT, the series will be directed by Maysaloun Hamoud, a young Hungarian-born Palestinian [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content