The Woman King. Till. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Nope. Nanny. The Inspection. Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
What do all these phenomenal films have in common? Powerhouse Black women at the forefront.
I’m talking about women like Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim and Adrienne Warren; Danielle Deadwyler and Whoopi Goldberg; Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Lupita Nyong’o; Keke Palmer; Anna Diop, Gabrielle Union, and Regina Hall, respectively.
All the aforementioned women each brought something unforgettable and undeniable with their portrayals on the big screen this year. And while some have begun to be recognized with early awards nominations such as the Gotham Awards, (namely Diop, Union, and Deadwyler) given the history Hollywood has with notoriously overlooking the phenomenal artistry that comes from Black people, and Black women, in particular, it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll be given their just due when the broader awards season rolls around.
Of course, there are already talks of the biggest awards buzz of them all, a.k.a. the Oscars for certain veteran actors such as Davis and Bassett for their roles in The Woman King and Wakanda Forever. But the industry would be remiss if they didn’t take into account the amazing talents brought forth by Mbedu, Lynch, Palmer, Deadwyler, Wright and more, who may not have as many years in the game as Davis and Bassett but bring just as much passion and brilliance in their performances.
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The industry would also be negligent if they didn’t take into account the fact that these Black woman brought their A-game across completely different genres without faltering. There’s convincing suspense in horror with Nope and Nanny; riveting and authentic action in The Woman King and Wakanda Forever; heartbreaking vulnerability in The Inspection and Till; and nuanced and multi-layered work in Honk for Jesus. And the only reason why those aforementioned elements are as present and palpable as they are is because of the work of these phenomenal, talented Black women.
You don’t need me to tell you how long overdue it is for Black women in Hollywood to get the recognition and accolades they truly deserve. Both in front of and behind the camera. But with a year that’s produced so much awe-inspiring, moving, and spectacular work here’s hoping that these women and projects receive the flowers they’ve rightfully earned.