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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Black History Month Special: The Reel Contenders

As we especially celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans for Black History Month, it's also important to recognize all the strong Black talent to look forward to in 2010. Some you may not recognize, others you can't get enough of, but all of whom continue to inspire us on the big screen. Here's a look at a few of the stars we're watching in 2010:

Nicole Beharie: She not only starred in one of my favorite movies last year, American Violet, but the NAACP Image award-nominated actress, who formerly starred alongside Dennis Quaid in 2008's Express, will also join Grammy winner (and star of HBO's #1 Ladies Detective Agency) Jill Scott in the upcoming Lifetime movie Sins of the Mother debuting on February 21 at 8pm EST. Beharie will portray Shay, the daughter to Nona (Jill Scott), a recovering alcoholic who's turned her life around. Check out the trailer here.

Gabourey Sidibe: The newly minted Oscar-nominated actress for her heartwrenching portrayal of the title character in Precious is another one to watch as she delves into TV on HBO's upcoming drama The Big C, co-staring Laura Linney. The 26-year-old also just wrapped Yelling to the Sky, a drama hitting the big screen reportedly later this year co-starring Zoe Kravitz.

Jaden Smith: At a mere twelve years old this heir to Hollywood's elite couple Will and Jada Smith is set to kick serious butt at the box office when he headlines his first movie, The Karate Kid remake, later this year. You might recognized the preteen from his previous roles in 2008's The Day The Earth Stood Still and 2006's The Pursuit of Happyness, where he co-starred alongside his famous dad.

Don Cheadle: This Oscar-nominated actor for 2004's Hotel Rwanda never ceases to impress audiences with his captivating performances. From the smooth-talking Mouse Alexander in Devil In a Blue Dress to his comedic roles in Rush Hour 2 and the Ocean's 11 movies to the Oscar-winning Crash, it's safe to say that Cheadle is a staple in Hollywood (just give him his Oscar already!). Next up? Cheadle will star in the 2009 Sundance darling Brooklyn's Finest in theaters March 5.

Samuel L. Jackson: Starring alongside Cheadle in Iron Man 2 in May, Jackson is a Hollywood veteran. Thirty-eight years in the business spanning movies, TV and any other project he can get his hands on, the Oscar-nominated star of 1994's Pulp Fiction continues to bring in serious bucks at the box office.

Kerry Washington: Though she hit the stage in this year's Broadway production of "Race," alongside James Spader, Washington will return to the more familiar big screen this year with Mother and Child, the drama co-starring Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson. The actress formerly wowed audiences with her performances in Ray, Fantastic Four, Lakeview Terrace, and I Think I Love My Wife.

Terrence Howard: The Oscar-nominated actor of 2005's Hustle and Flow may have wiggled his way out of reprising his role in Iron Man 2 this year, but he did manage to portray a doting dad in the Oscar-nominated Princess And The Frog last year. Howard is set to wrap two films later this year, including Red Tails, about the first African-American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II.

Denzel Washington: He needs no introduction really. And I'll just call him Denzel (because it's my site and I can call him whatever I want). The 55-year-old Hollywood heavyweight (who's starred in such films as Philadelphia, Hurricane, Malcolm X and Training Day) can currently be seen in theaters now in the apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli. Denzel's got two more movies in the queue lined up including the sequel to the adrenaline-induced bank heist flick Inside Man.

Taraji P. Henson: The Oscar-nominated actress for 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (who made her mark in leading roles in Talk To Me and Hustle and Flow) has yet to take a break from reigning at the box office in roles in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself and famous pastor T. D. Jakes's critically-acclaimed Not Easily Broken. You'll see Henson up next in The Karate Kid and Date Night.

Jamie Foxx: I still can't get over that this wacky comedian from In Living Color has transformed his career into megawatt success with his star-making performances in Ali, Collateral, The Soloist and Ray (for which he won the Oscar). Next, Foxx stars alongside a star-studded cast in Valentine's Day in theaters February 12, and rumored to be cast as the lead in an upcoming biopic on Mike Tyson.

Anika Noni Rose: From her 2004 Tony award-winning performance in Broadway's Caroline, or Change, to her big screen star-making turns in 2006's Dreamgirls and last year's groundbreaking megahit Princess and the Frog, it's hard to believe this starlet is still considered a virtual unknown in the industry. Stay tuned for more from this Hollywood princess.

Mo'Nique: Who would have thought one of the comediennes from 2001's Queens of Comedy and star the hit 90s TV sitcom The Parkers would later get nominated for an Academy award? Yes, Mo'Nique, we salute you. I don't think anyone played a more hated character in cinema last yeaer than when Mo'Nique did in the Oscar-nominated Precious. She completely shed her funnygirl image when she played the deeply-flawed and equally magnetic Mary. Next up-Oscar?

Chiwetel Ejiofor: This Golden Globe award-winning English charmer who's won over audiences in such films as Talk To Me, Kinky Boots and American Gangster is set to reprise his role in Inside Man 2 and star alongside Angelina Jolie in the spy thriller Salt (in theaters July 23).

Queen Latifah: The Oscar-nominated star of Chicago has come a long way from her breakthrough rap album "All Hail the Queen." She's gone on to star in the hit series Living Single, countless movies and was even honored by a star on Hollywood's walk of fame. You can see her next in Valentine's Day.

Regina King: Arguably one of the most underrated actresses in the industry, King started out on the hilarious 80s TV show "227," and later went on star in Jerry Maguire, Enemy of the State, Ray (for which she was totally snubbed for an Oscar) and most recently TV's Southland, to name a few. Up next for King? Our Family Wedding, in theaters March 12.

Chris Rock: The SNL alum who's dominated the big screen in a major way continues to break box office rules to become one of the most talked about comedians in a long time. From his hilarious HBO stand-ups, to his big screen comedies such as I Think I Love My Wife, Madagascar and The Longest Yard, the Emmy-winning star released his first documentary Good Hair last year. This year he teams up with Zoe Saldana, Danny Glover and Martin Lawrence in the remake to Death at a Funeral in theaters April 16.

Anthony Mackie: Lauded as one of the breakout stars of last year with his dramatic turn in the Oscar-nominated The Hurt Locker, Mackie has previously earned his stripes playing opposite Hollywood stars such as Hilary Swank, Ryan Gosling (in Million Dollar Baby and Half Nelson) and starred in American Violet opposite Nicole Beharie. He'll reportedly later star this year in a biopic on the late great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong.


37paddington said...

Great list! I'm particulary looking forward to more work from Chewy and Mackie!

Karen said...

Nice list! I would include Rashida Jones. As you can probably tell from my blog, I'm a fan. Also, Katerina Graham from The Vampire Diaries and Nate Parker from The Great Debaters. Two emerging careers.

Mackie really impressed me in The Hurt Locker. I was hoping he'd get an Oscar nom.

Karen said...

Oh and...Zoe Saldana & Paula Patton. I hope they keep getting interesting roles.

Candice Frederick said...

@Karen ah, you're right Paula Patton is great and has been totally snubbed this award season in her best perofmrance yet in Precious. Nate Parker is good too, but hasn't quite impressed me yet, same with Rashida Jones. I'm not familiar with Katerina Graham but wanted to focus on film actors. Zoe has gotten good lately as well.

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