Black Actors Ruled 2013, Black Actresses Not So Much

Illustration for article titled Black Actors Ruled 2013, Black Actresses Not So Much

Guys, I'm tired of writing this story, but here we go ... 2013 was a great year for black actors but shitty for black actresses. Womp, but at least it was good for one part of at least one minority group, right? Right?

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Forest Whitaker, Michael B. Jordan, and Idris Elba are each living it up this awards season with nominations for their work in 12 Years a Slave, The Butler, Fruitvale Station and Mandela respectively, but not so much for their female costars. Black women were largely supporting characters who didn't drive the plots of 2013's critically acclaimed films and the recently released NAACP Image Awards nominations betray that fact.

Best Actress

Angela Bassett, "Black Nativity"
Nicole Beharie, "42"
Halle Berry, "The Call"
Jennifer Hudson, "Winnie Mandela"
Kerry Washington, "Tyler Perry Presents Peeples"

Best Supporting Actress

Naomie Harris, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Octavia Spencer, "Fruitvale Station"
Oprah Winfrey, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
Alfre Woodard, "12 Years a Slave"

Best International Film

"Call Me Kuchu" - Written and Direted by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall
"War Witch"

Best Theatrical Documentary

"Call Me Kuchu" - Written and Directed by Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall
"Free Angela and All Political Prisoners" - Directed by Shola Lynch "Girl Rising"
"The New Black" - Written and Directed by Yoruba Richen
"20 Feet from Stardom"


12 Years a Slave might've won Best Picture at Sunday's Golden Globes but we still need more women, and people of color period, in Hollywood's power positions. But you already knew that.

Image via Getty

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Just looking at the movie recognized, I notice that a lot of them are based-on-true stories about real Black men. That makes me think:

1) No one is writing fictional Black characters of color, period (probably because most writers in Hollywood are white men and "write what you know" is still their mantra).

2) While history books and narratives are definitely not full of the stories of Black men, women of color are desperately missing from the historical narrative. I wonder if we knew more about the accomplishments of true Black women, if we wouldn't see larger representation*.

*Duh, we wouldn't.