Every year Vanity Fair feature up and coming actors they think are destined for greatness. This year they have their eye on, among others, Paula Patton and Adepero Oduye.
Obviously it’s hard to feature 11 people on one magazine so Paula and Adepero aren’t actually on the cover – they’re more on the ‘flaps’ if you get what we mean. Of the 11 women they are the only non-whites and some people are criticising the fact that neither of them are on the actual ‘cover’. Whether that was a conscious choice or not, we’re happy to see them getting some recognition.
Paula first appeared on our radar in Just Wright where she played the shallow Morgan Alexander, trying to get her hooks into a professional basketball star played rather well by Common.
She has since had roles in Law & Order SVU and Jumping the Broom but really hit the big time as Jane Carter in the multi-million dollar Mission: Impossible franchise. Her outfits on the film’s promo tour deserve an award all of their own (hats off to her stylist).
We have to admit we don’t know much about Adepero Oduye. A quick IMDB search shows she played Alike in sleeper hit Pariah and was nominated as Best Female Lead award at the Independent Spirit Awards.
This week, Homeland actor David Harewood advised black British actors to head to Hollywood as quickly as they can because they won’t find leading roles in the UK. He said: ‘They do seem to embrace a more diverse palette there. I think that’s sad but that’s the facts.’
We think there’s definitely some truth to this statement. Actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste was nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her role in Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies but did little work in the UK afterwards. After hotfooting it to the US, Marianne got a lead role in the gripping drama Without a Trace. Look at Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor – TV and movie stars in the US but not in the UK.
The exception to the rule appears to be Idris Elba (won Best TV Actor at the Golden Globes for his role in UK drama Luther) but he shot to fame in gritty American TV show The Wire and his movie roles (Thor, Ghost Rider) have been US productions.
A few Brits have tried to make it big in the US (Samantha Mumba, June Sarpong) with little success so it’s not a given that your charming English accent will get you far. We still think it’s a risk worth taking though as which black actor can you think of that has stayed in the UK and enjoyed the success of those of moved across the pond?