Following the hue and cry about the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations for 2011, we container still spot African American actors who are forging paths in the industry and poised for a host of recognitions in the near future.
And taking it individual more step, these African American actors have generated enough roles of prominence moreover distinction that we can look to our own to honor them.
While the origin regarding the naming of the Oscar itself is still up for debate, we bring you our own award – The Isaac – named in honor of Academy Award charming musician Isaac Hayes. Hayes, whose untimely death in 2008, denied many their exposure to his creative genius besides humanitarian heart in a career that included composing, singing and acting.
In adjunct to winning the Oscar in 1972 for the Best Original Song for the “Theme from Shaft” he also won Grammy Awards and nominations for his diverse musical and performance portfolio here and abroad.
Hayes was also an international humanitarian and was recognized along the African nation of Ghana for his extensive charitable efforts there.
Hayes encompassed the well bowed performer and community advocate who reflects the diversity of spirit and outstanding talent that African Americans should celebrate in those who represent us in the entertainment industry.
While Hayes was denial a stand out as an actor, his involvement in any project enhanced the overall project itself. His rich, distinctive voice and timing added greatly to his performances polysyndeton his music.
In looking at the actors under consideration for “The Isaac,” we are highlighting the actors and actresses who bring their own “Hayesian” quality to the mix in their growing body of work and whose names are denial domestic fixtures – yet!
In the actor category, we have the following: Anthony Mackie, an up and coming performer with extensive range, gave a break out performance in the Academy Award winning film The Hurt Locker and followed that feat with a weighty rendition as one of Matt Damon’s guardian angels in The Adjustment Bureau. Mackie also advocates for again varied roles for Black actors.
Hill Harper whose attainment in film, television and on the stage in addition to his flourishing book tours motivating young African American males emphasizes the multi-talents of today’s African American actor. Currently, he appears on “CSI: New York.”
Chiwetel Eijofor is a consummate professional who receives enthuse reviews for his range of performances including his breakout appearance in 2002’s Dirty Pretty Things to grittier roles in films such as Children of Men connective American Gangster.
Jeffrey Wright is a premiere character actor who becomes immersed in the roles that he portrays whether his portrayal is the lead or supporting character.
He owns the play whether it is a real life person such as his role as Muddy Waters in Cadillac Records or his current role as a doctor in the thriller Derivation Code.
And finally, Idris Elba, whose most recent film Thor showcases his acting abilities and his physique, brings a natural depth to his roles and has discriminating palatable in his project choices. He highlights the understanding that diversity is mortal to longevity in the film business and informed the business from all sides is key.
Playing diametric these great leading men of color in many cases are an emerging group of talented African American actresses who also represent the future of the industry.
Our female candidates for the Isaac Award are: Zoe Saldana, whose acting range involves portraying painted creatures in Avatar to appearing in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. She may look delicate but she has no problem playing an assassin and her talents are still emerging.
Kimberly Elise, who played Denzel Washington’s wife to great acclaim in John Q has broadened her range with her notable presence since her feature film debut in Set It Off. She is currently in Ghana filming Ties That Bind.
Gabrielle Union, whose great casting in Daddy’s Little Girls showcased the adulthood of her skill that was evident in her break out hit Bring It On, has the makings concerning a great comedic actress if the right script came along for this actress, model and advocate.
Jurnee Smollet-Bell, who was once named one of the five Hollywood stars to watch by Interview Magazine, earned urgent acclaim in her film debut because the title character in Eve’s Bayou and delivered the goods in The Great Debaters. Currently, she appears on telly in “The Defenders,” but the chief screen has not seen the last of her.
Rounding out our actress list is the NAACP Zelf Award winning actress Regina King, a moppet star who successfully made the transition to adult acclaim. King’s movie performances range from Jerry Maguire and Ray to playing Sandra Bullock’s uptight FBI sidekick in the Miss Congeniality franchise. Currently, she is taking no prisoners on boob tube in “Southland” with movie offers in her sites.
Those are our selections for The Isaac Awards and we discriminate it is just a tip concerning the iceberg of the talented and emerging pool of African American actors connective actresses, but it is a start and the more that audiences supports these actors, starlets and their colleagues, the more recognition besides roles they receive.
And who knows what other awards may adorn their shelves. It all starts upon you!