From Sidney Poitier to Jordan Peele Black Americans’ representation and impact on film has been growing with no signs of slowing down. Because of this American audiences can take a moment to admire some of the irreplaceable people and contributions of the Black community on modern cinema.

Since the 2000’s very few actors and actresses have been as highly revered as Viola Davis. She quickly cemented herself as one of best actors of modern film by bringing to life characters in “The Help”, “Fences”, and “Widows”. Davis has received three nominations from the Academy in the last six years. One best actress nomination and two best supporting actress nomination of which she won one for her work on “Fences”.

Photo by IMDB

Denzel Washington, one of the most famous Black actors in modern film, is also one of the all time great actors in the history of film. Washington has seems to have played a role some in nearly every modern classic movies from Philadelphia, to American Gangster, to Training Day. Washington has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two for best actor.

Photo by IMDB

Steve Mcqueen, from his very first film “Hunger”, earned widespread respect as a director. His films repeatedly push the limit of modern dramas and raise the bar higher and higher. From festival circuits, to the Academy Awards, to the screens of the average filmgoer, McQueen does it all. In 2013 he became the first Black director to direct a best picture winning movie in history. McQueens passion for film and craft of filmmaking is best seen in his most recent film “Widows”, in which he gave audiences a gripping heist film that stood out in an otherwise generic genre.

Black actors and directors have been wowing audiences and critics alike in recent recent movies like “Creed”, “Sorry to Bother You”, “BlacKkKlansman”, “Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse”, and most notably “Black Panther”. “Black Panther” not only made 1.34 billion at the worldwide box office, but also has been nominated for best picture at this year’s 91st Academy Awards, making it the first superhero movie in history to be nominated in this category. Similarly, at last years 90th Oscars Jordan Peele’s breakout horror “Get Out” was nominated for best picture, a category that very few horror movies have ever been recognized in. Peele went on to win last year for best original screenplay, making him the first Black American in history to receive this award.

Modern film not only benefits from the Black community, but also these films have helped to define American cinema.