Monday, May 27, 2024

Hollywood Has Plenty of Black Actors Waiting to be Stars: Trade Paper is Wrong


The Hollywood Reporter is so wrong. They say “Hollywood is struggling to find black stars.” So idiotic. The actors are there. They simply aren’t given the chance. When they have been, the actors have hit home runs. But the opportunities aren’t there, especially when a role could be– and should be– color blind.

Anthony Mackie, so gifted, made the transition when he appeared in “Captain America.” That’s a step in the right direction. He’s 35, in the same age group as Leo, Ben, Matt Damon, McConaughey, etc.  He should have an Oscar already.

So far, Chadwick Boseman has been able to star in two films, “42” and “Get on Up,” each time as a black icon. There should be more for him out there.

But what about Derek Luke, who should have broken through already? And Michael Ealy? Need an action star? Chiwetel Ejiofor is more than just “12 Years a Slave.” So is Idris Elba more than Mandela.

That THR article is so wrong headed. What about: Terrence Howard? Why has Cuba Gooding Jr. been relegated to second tier roles? He’s great! Broadway has a major star in Norm Foster, who could be a dramatic star in movies if someone wrote a part for him.

PS THR managed to leave out — among Established Black Stars — Samuel L. Jackson and Forest Whitaker. Are you kidding? Those guys are uber-stars, incredibly talented.

And I didn’t mention David Oyelowo, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Harold Perrineau, Nate Parker, Giancarlo Esposito, Taye Diggs, Chris Rock, and Djimon Honsou— who has a couple of Oscar nominations and could have more if the work was there. Shemar Moore is still shuttling between prime time and soap operas. He should be an action star. And there’s a whole level of middle aged guys who look great and have made careers but could be bigger: Mario van Peebles, Kristoff St. John, and so on.

On the female side, don’t get me started about Viola Davis not having an Oscar, and having to do series TV. That’s for another column altogether. She’s in the same league as Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Glenn Close and Jessica Chastain. Octavia Spencer at least has her Oscar. But why not Sanaa Lathan? Condola Rashad? (again, another column!)

Hello THR, let’s address the real problem: count up the black execs who can greenlight a film. Then call me.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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