2013 was a great year for actors of African descent.

These guys could be taking golden statues home next year.

1. Lupita Nyong’o in a career launching heartbreaker, Patsey from 12 Years a Slave. Everything has probably been said about her, but her It Girl status is sign enough of her impact. 

2. Chiwetel Ejiofor in one of the most devastating roles this year, with so much range and grace, in 12 Years A Slave. I can’t get that too-long hanging scene out of my head.

3. Idris Elba as a screen Mandela that finally brought the grit and fervour that had been missing in previous iterations. Elba is pretty much a superhero. Tall, unreadable, mischievous…He can play me in my lifetime movie if he wants. 

4. Danai Gurira in a role that brought us a new leading woman archetype. She transported us into the inner life of an immigrant bride, her identity fresh and completely out of context, we forgot she spends most of her year fighting zombies…

5. Adepero Oduye’s role, though small, in 12 Years A Slave, brought clarity to McQueen’s vision of the film’s theme, ‘dignity and humanity’. Crying has never been used so successfully as a form of protest on screen, and that one monologue that will probably be used by actresses to audition in years to come. I’m a fan.

6. David Oyelowo’s firebrand activist in The Butler. I haven’t seen it, but his intelligence and gentility add depth to all of his roles including last year’s turn in Ava Duvernay’s ‘Middle of Nowhere’.

7. Barkhad Abdi’s much talked about breakout performance, who humanised the Somali Pirate for those who do not pay attention, and introduced the mass audience to what Somalis actually look like (cough…Hollywood).

There were so many award worthy performances last year! Reblog with your additions!

Monica

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