2018 was a great year in terms of representation on the silver screen and it’s only looking brighter this year. Here are ten outrageously talented actors to keep your finger on this year!
1. Kiki Layne
Kiki Layne made her film debut last year in the Academy Award Nominated film, ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ the latest masterpiece from Barry Jenkins (of Oscar winner ‘Moonlight’). The 26-year-old shines as Tish – a pregnant Harlem native who must fight for her boyfriend, Fonny, who is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Layne is can next be seen in the upcoming sci-fi thriller, ‘Captive State.’ She’s also actively “plotting” for a role as X-men’s Storm, which I could totally be down for.
2. Geraldine Viswanathan
With mostly short film credits to her name, Geraldine recently caught attention with her role as Michael Cena’s daughter in ‘Blockers’. When I tell you this girl stole every sene that she was in, I mean it. Her comedic timing is golden and can next be seen in ‘Hala’ and ‘Bad Education’ also starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney.
3. Gideon Adlon
Gideon has had consistent work in television with credits from ‘Girl Meets World’ to the critically-acclaimed, ‘American Crime’. Like Geraldine, Adlon also turned heads in the comedy, ‘Blockers’ as the shy and closeted teenager, Sam. Look out for Gideon in ‘The Mustang’ opposite Connie Britton and Josh Stewart.
4. Aisha Hinds
Is there anyone cooler than Aisha? With a stage and screen career spanning fifteen years, Aisha Hinds isn’t new to the game, but more people are starting to take notice and rightfully so. Highly underrated, Hinds brings strength and depth to her characters and they’re only getting bigger. You can catch her on the latest comedic drama, ‘9-1-1’ from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk and in Godzilla: King of Monsters this May.
5. Shahadi Wright Joseph
Following her performance on ‘Hairspray Live!’ Shahadi is up for two of the most anticipated projects this year! The first being the live-action adaptation of ‘The Lion King’ (she is voicing Young Nala – a role she also portrayed on Broadway), the second being ‘Us,’ the second directorial horror from Jordan Peele as the daughter of Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke. Trained in voice and dance, there’s no telling what more lies in store for the young actor.
6. Yalitza Aparicio
Yalitza stunned audiences with her debut as Cleo in Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’. The actor is the third Latina and first indigenous woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in Best Lead Actress. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, Yalitza!
7. Melissa Barrera
The NYU Tisch grad has starred in telenovelas in addition to starring in multiple plays in Mexico City prior to her stint on the Starz series, ‘Vida’. I’m excited to see more American projects she takes on, but in the meantime, look out for Barrera in season 2 of ‘Vida’ later this year.
8. Ser Anzoategui
Ser identifies as a non-binary Latinx/Chicanx actor, playwright, and activist. Ser touched audiences in their performance as Eddy – the heartbroken bar owner who lost her wife in the in the Starz series, ‘Vida.’ A native of East Los Angeles, Ser is actively uses theater to advocate for many key issues of today. They’ve worked with organizations including the California Endowment and Gender Justice LA to name a few. In addition to their work in the community, you can also catch them in season 2 of ‘Vida’ airing this year.
9. Saniyya Sidney
At just 12 years old, Saniyya has already been in a number of high-profile projects including: ‘Roots’, ‘Fences’, and ‘Hidden Figures’. Currently Saniyya stars as Amy Bellafonte in the FOX drama, ‘The Passage’ and it’s freaking awesome. A brown girl at the center of a secret plot to vaccinate the entire human population developed from vampire-like beings in order to prevent the complete and total annihilation of the human race?? YES, PLEASE.
10. Michele Weaver
After seven years of small parts, Michele received her breakout role in the OWN series, ‘Love Is’. Not only is Michele talented on-screen, but she’s also deeply passionate about helping artists make a living. While ‘Love Is’ won’t be returning for a second season, you can see her work through the 2livvv organization and hear her advice to young artists here.