Top 40 Under 40 Black Actors/Actresses (2013 Edition)

This is my first annual Top 40 under 40 Black actors and actress! Hope you all enjoy the list. I based the rankings on the following criteria

Awards/Honors
IMDB StarRank
Average Box-Office Gross (Domestic and Worldwide)
Critical Average of Films
Years Active
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1.
Zoe Saldana
Actress, Avatar
Zoe Saldana was born on June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey, to Asalia Nazario and Aridio Saldaña. Her father was Dominican and her mother is Puerto Rican. She was raised in Queens, New York. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic where they would live for the next seven years...
“ Noteworthy Performances: Star Trek Series, Avatar, Guess Who, Colombiana

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Nominee, Image Award Nominee, MTV Movie Award Nominee, BET Award Nominee

Box-Office: 1.63 Billion (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Star Trek: Into the Darkness/ Blood Ties/ Nina ” - cmart514
 
2.
Idris Elba
Actor, Prometheus
An only child, Idris Elba was born and raised in Hackney, London, England. His father, Winston, is from Sierra Leone and worked at a Ford motor factory. His mother, Eve, is from Ghana and had a clerical duty. Idris attended school in Canning Town, where he first became involved in acting. He gained a place in the National Youth Music Theatre - thanks to a £1,500 Prince's Trust grant...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Takers, The Gospel, Prometheus

Awards/Honors: 2x BET Award Winner, Black Reel Award Winner, Golden Globe Winner, Image Award Winner, Emmy Nominee, SAG Nominee.

Box-Office: 881 million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom/ Pacific Rim/ Thor: The Dark World ” - cmart514
 
3.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Ray, Save the Last Dance, Django Unchained & Night Catches Us.

Awards: 3x Image Award Winner, BET Award Nominee, 1X Black Reel Award Winner, Independent Spirit Award Nominee, MTV Movie Award Nominee.

Box-Office: 1.04 Billion (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Peeples ” - cmart514
 
4.
Naomie Harris
Actress, Skyfall
British actress Naomie Harris was born in London, the only child of television scriptwriter Lisselle Kayla. Her father is from Trinidad and her mother is from Jamaica. She showed an interest in acting from an early age and attended the prestigious Anna Scher Theatre School. From here, Harris won roles in various projects...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Skyfall, 28 Days Later, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The First Grader

Awards/Honors: 2x-Black Reel Award Winner, BAFTA nominee

Box-Office: 1.24 Billion (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ” - cmart514
 
5.
Chiwetel Ejiofor
English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is renowned for his portrayal of Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, for which he received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, along with the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. He is also known for playing Okwe in Dirty Pretty Things, the Operative in Serenity...
“ Noteworthy Performances: Kinky Boots, Talk to Me, Dirty Pretty Things & Children of Men

Awards/Honors: Image Award Nominee, Golden Globe Nominee, Independent Spirit Award Winner, Black Reel Award Winner, SAG Nominee

Box-Office: Domestic 764 Million

Films Released in 2013: Twelve Years a Slave ” - cmart514
 
6.
Rosario Dawson
Actress, Sin City
This stunning and resourceful actress has been primarily a film player thus far. Only recently has she been opening herself up more to doing television (the series Gemini Division, which she executive-produced), and animated voice-overs. Dawson's powerhouse talent stands out the most in edgy, urban filming that dates back to 1995 when she was only sixteen...
“ Noteworthy Performances: Trance, Seven Pounds, Rent, Light It Up

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Nominee, 1X Image Award Winner, BET Award Nominee

Box-Office: 958 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Trance ” - cmart514
 
7.
Anthony Mackie
Anthony Mackie is an American actor. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Martha (Gordon) and Willie Mackie, Sr., who owned a business, Mackie Roofing. Anthony has been featured in feature films, television series and Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Drowning Crow...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Hurt Locker, Night Catches Us, Brother 2 Brother, Half Nelson & The Adjustment Bureau

Awards/Honors: Independent Spirit Award Nominee, 2x Black Reel Award Winner, Image Award Nominee, African-American Film Critics Recipient, SAG Nominee.

Box-Office: 760 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Pain & Gain/ The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete/ The Gangster Squad ” - cmart514
 
8.
David Oyelowo
Actor, Selma
David Oyelowo (pronounced - "oh-yellow-oh"), is a classically trained stage actor who has quickly become one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents. He graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and received the "Scholarship for Excellence" from Nicholas Hytner in 1998. David starred as Martin Luther King Jr...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Paperboy, Middle of Nowhere, The Last King of Scotland, Red Tails

Awards/Honors: Independent Spirit Award Nominee, Black Reel Award Nominee, Image Award Nominee

Box-Office: 677 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: The Butler/ Nina ” - cmart514
 
9.
Ludacris
Soundtrack, The Hangover
Ludacris was born Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois, where he was raised, the son of Roberta Shields and Wayne Brian Bridges. At nine years old, he started rapping. He attended Emerson Middle School and, eventually, Oak Park and River Forest High School for his freshman year. Furthermore...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Crash, Hustle & Flow

Awards/Honors: Image Award Nominee, MTV Movie Award Nominee, Black Reel Award Nominee, BET Award Nominee, SAG Winner

Box-Office: 923 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Fast & Furious 6 ” - cmart514
 
10.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Catch a Fire, Antwone Fisher, Pieces of April, Miracle at St. Anna

Awards/Honors: 2x-Black Reel Award Winner, Independent Spirit Award Winner, Image Award Nominee

Box-Office: 548 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Baggage Claim ” - cmart514
 
11.
Paula Patton
Paula Patton was born in Los Angeles, California, to Joyce (Vanraden) and Charles Patton. Her father is African-American and her mother, who is caucasian, has German, English, and Dutch ancestry. Her family lived across the street from the 20th Century Fox lot when she was growing up and she was a fan of films from her earliest years...
“ Noteworthy Performances: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Precious, Idlewild, Jumping the Broom, Disconnect

Awards/Honors: Image Award Nominee, Black Reel Award Nominee, SAG Nominee

Box-Office: 440 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Disconnect/ 2 Guns/ Baggage Claim ” - cmart514
 
12.
Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé was born in Houston, Texas. Her father, Mathew Knowles, manages Destiny's Child. Her mother, Tina Knowles (née Celestine Ann Beyincé), designs their glittering costumes. Solange Knowles, her sister (they're about 5 years apart), has released her debut album. She dances with her big sister during DC-3 concerts. Beyoncé is of African-American and Creole descent...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Dreamgirls, Cadillac Records

Awards/Honors: Golden Globe Nominee, Black Reel Award Winner, Image Award Nominee, MTV Movie Award Winner, Critics' Choice Winner, SAG Nominee, BET Award Nominee

Box-Office: 572 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Epic ” - cmart514
 
13.
Tyrese Gibson
Tyrese Darnell Gibson was born December 30, 1978 in Watts, Los Angeles, California, where he was raised. He is an R&B singer, songwriter, actor, author, television producer and model. He is well known for his actor role as Roman Pearce in the The Fast and Furious movie franchise. Other popular movies Tyrese has acted in are Death Race...
“ Noteworthy Film Roles: Four Brothers, Baby Boy, Fast & Furious Series

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Nominee, Image Award Nominee

Box-Office: 1.82 Billion (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Fast & Furious 6/ Black Nativity ” - cmart514
 
14.
Quvenzhané Wallis
Wallis was born in Houma, Louisiana, to Qulyndreia (Jackson) Wallis, a teacher, and Venjie Wallis, Sr., a truck driver. She has one sister, Qunyquekya, and two brothers, Vejon and Venjie, Jr. "Quven", the first part of her name, combines the first syllables of her parents' first names. Wallis, at age five...
“ Noteworthy Film Work: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Awards/Honors: Academy Award Nominee, Independent Spirit Award Nominee, African-American Film Critics Recipient, 2x-Black Reel Award Winner, Image Award Nominee, Critics' Choice Winner

Box-Office: 12 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Twelve Years a Slave ” - cmart514
 
15.
Amandla Stenberg
Named for the Zulu and Xhosa word for "power," Amandla was born in Los Angeles, California, to Karen Brailsford, a writer, and Tom Stenberg. Her mother is African-American and her father is Danish (and of part Inuit-Greenlandic ancestry). In the summer and fall of 2010, the actress shot her first feature...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Hunger Games, Colombiana

Awards/Honors: Image Award Nominee, Black Reel Award Nominee

Box-Office: 444 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: N/A ” - cmart514
 
16.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Storage 24, The Knot, Heartless

Awards/Honors: BAFTA Rising Star Award Winner

Box-Office: 183 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Star Trek Into the Darkness ” - cmart514
 
17.
Jaden Smith
Jaden Smith is a movie actor, known for The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), The Karate Kid (2010) and After Earth (2013). In addition to being an actor he is also a dancer, songwriter and rapper who won an MTV award for his performance in The Pursuit of Happyness. He co-starred with his father Will Smith in both The Pursuit of Happyness and in the 2013 science fiction film After Earth...
“ Noteworthy Performances: The Pursuit of Happyness, The Karate Kid

Awards/Honors: Image Award Nominee, Critics Choice Nominee, Black Reel Nominee, MTV Movie Award Winner

Box Office: 449 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: After Earth ” - cmart514
 
18.
Gabourey Sidibe
Actress, Precious
Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe, the star of Precious, was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is a former special education teacher who gave up her career and became a street performer/singer, while her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is a cab driver. Her mother is African-American and her father is Senegalese...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Precious, Tower Heist

Awards/Honors: Academy Award Nominee, Golden Globe Nominee, Image Award Winner, 2x-Black Reel Award Winner, SAG Nominee, BAFTA Nominee, Independent Spirit Award Winner

Box-Office: 125 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Gravy ” - cmart514
 
19.
Yasiin Bey
Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. Taking a cue from the Afrocentric stylings of the Native Tongues crew, which included De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and Andres Titus...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Brown Sugar, The Italian Job, The Woodsman

Awards/Honors: Emmy Award Nominee, Golden Globe Nominee, Image Award Nominee, Black Reel Award Winner, BET Award Nominee

Box-Office: 508 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: N/A ” - cmart514
 
20.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Red Tails, Arbitrage, The Great Debaters

Awards/Honors: African-American Film Critics Recipient, Black Reel Award Nominee, Image Award Nominee

Box-Office: 133 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2103: Ain't Them Bodies Saints ” - cmart514
 
21.
Jennifer Hudson
Actress, Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a childhood dream...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Dreamgirls, The Secret Life of Bees

Awards/Honors: Academy Award Winner, Golden Globe Winner, SAG Winner, BAFTA Winner, 2x-Black Reel Award Winner, Image Award Winner, BET Award Winner, Critics' Choice Winner, African-American Critics Recipient

Box-Office: 338 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Black Nativity/ The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete/ Winnie ” - cmart514
 
22.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Think Like a Man

Awards/Honors: BET Award Winner

Box-Office: 731 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: This is the End/ Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain ” - cmart514
 
23.
Nicole Beharie
Actress, Shame
Nicole Beharie is an American actress. Her critically acclaimed film debut was in the film American Violet (2008) alongside Alfre Woodard, Tim Blake Nelson and Will Patton. Beharie also played Ernie Davis' girlfriend in the movie The Express (2008). Her upcoming projects include My Last Day Without You (2011) and Steve McQueen's Shame (2011) opposite Michael Fassbender...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: American Violet, Shame & 42

Awards/Honors: African-American Critics Recipient, Black Reel Award Nominee

Box-Office: 98 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: 42 ” - cmart514
 
24.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: 42

Awards/Honors:

Box-Office: 92 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: 42 ” - cmart514
 
25.
Zoë Kravitz
Zoe Isabella Kravitz, the daughter of singer/actor Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, was born on December 1, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. She is of half African-American (from her father's mother and her mother's father) and half Ashkenazi Jewish (from her father's father and her mother's mother) descent...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Yelling to the Sky, X-Men: First Class, It's Kind of a Funny Story

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Nominee

Box-Office: 180 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: After Earth ” - cmart514
 
26.
Michael B. Jordan
Actor, Creed
Michael B. Jordan, middle of three children, was born in Santa Ana, California and raised in Newark, New Jersey by Donna (Davis), and Michael A. Jordan. His middle name Bakari means "noble promise" in Swahili. Jordan has starred in three of the most critically acclaimed television dramas of the past decade...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Fruitvale Station, Chronicle

Awards/Honors:

Box-Office: 64 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Fruitvale Station ” - cmart514
 
27.
Meagan Good
Meagan Monique Good was born on 8 August 1981 in Panorama City, California, USA, to Tyra Wardlow-Doyle, who worked as her manager, and Leondis "Leon" Good, an LAPD officer. She began appearing on commercials at the age of four. Then she started guest-starring on series like The Parent 'Hood, Touched by an Angel...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Think Like a Man, Eve's Bayou

Awards/Honors: MTV Movie Award Nominee, Black Reel Nominee, Image Award Nominee

Box-Office: 547 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Anchorman 2 ” - cmart514
 
28.
Keke Palmer
Actress, Grease Live!
Keke Palmer was born Lauren Keyana Palmer in Robbins, Illinois--a small town 20 miles south of Chicago-- to Sharon and Larry Palmer, both former actors. Palmer showed vocal promise as a five-year-old, when she belted out "Jesus Loves Me" in her church choir. A year later the singer-actress had a solo in her kindergarten play but...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Akeelah and the Bee

Awards/Honors: Image Award Winner, Black Reel Award Winner, Critics Choice Nominee, SAG Nominee

Box-Office: 376 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: N/A ” - cmart514
 
29.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Middle of Nowhere

Awards/Honors: African-American Film Critics Recipient, Image Award Nominee, Independent Spirit Award Nominee, Black Reel Nominee

Box-Office: 192K (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: N/A ” - cmart514
 
30.
Brandon T. Jackson
Brandon Timothy Jackson was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Beverly Yvonne (Bozeman) and Wayne Timothy Jackson. His parents are both pastors, and his maternal grandfather was a Pentecostal child preacher. He credits his sense of humor to both his father and his life straddling the fence between suburbia and the inner city...
“ Noteworthy Films: Tropic Thunder, Roll Bounce

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Winner

Box-Office: 339 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters ” - cmart514
 
31.
Yaya DaCosta
Actress, The Nice Guys
Yaya DaCosta was born and raised in New York City along with her sister and two brothers. She got her first acting gig at the age of eleven when her junior high school drama teacher, Ann Willis Ratray, encouraged her to audition for educational films. She continued to perform in school shows throughout high school and college and in 2005...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Kids are All Right, The Messenger, Take the Lead

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Nominee

Box-Office: 230 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Mother of George/ The Butler ” - cmart514
 
32.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Intouchables

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Nominee

Box-Office: 14 million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Mood Indigo ” - cmart514
 
33.
Adepero Oduye
Adepero Oduye hails from Brooklyn, New York City by way of Nigeria. She is a graduate of Cornell University; and has studied acting with Wynn Handman, Austin Pendleton, and Susan Batson. Her name is pronounced "Add-eh-pair-o Oh-due-yay." Her theatre credits include Danai Gurira's play Eclipsed, at the Yale Repertory Theatre; The Bluest Eye...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Pariah

Awards/Honors: African-American Film Critics Recipient, Black Reel Award Winner, Independent Spirit Award Nominee, Image Award Nominee

Box-Office: 769K (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Twelve Years a Slave ” - cmart514
 
34.
Omari Hardwick
Actor, The A-Team
Born "Omari Latif Hardwick," he grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Hardwick's parents gave him a name to set a precedent, "Omari" meaning "most high," and "Latif" meaning "gentle." He shares, "I in no way believe that I am the highest or most high, but I feel like my name gives me something to strive for." Growing up...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Sparkle, For Colored Girls, Kick Ass, Middle of Nowhere

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Nominee

Box-Office: 165 Million (domestically)

Films Released in 2013: N/A ” - cmart514
 
35.
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Actress, Underground
Jurnee Smollett-Bell was born on October 1, 1986 in New York City, New York, USA as Jurnee Diana Smollett. She is an actress, known for her role as "Jess Merriweather" on the Emmy Award-winning TV series, Friday Night Lights. She is also known for her roles in The Great Debaters, Eve's Bayou, True Blood...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Great Debaters, Eve's Bayou

Awards/Honors: Image Award Winner, Critics' Choice Winner, Black Reel Nominee

Box-Office: 138 million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Tyler Perry's Temptation ” - cmart514
 
36.
John Boyega
John Boyega is a British actor best known for playing Finn in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Boyega rose to prominence in his native United Kingdom for his role of Moses in the 2011 sci-fi comedy film Attack the Block, before attaining international recognition for his work as Finn in the seventh film of the Star Wars series...
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Attack the Block

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Winner

Box-Office: 1 million (domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Half of the Yellow Sun ” - cmart514
 
37.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Half Nelson

Awards/Honors: Black Reel Award Nominee, Critics' Choice Nominee, Independent Spirit Award Winner

Box-Office: 45 million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Milkshake ” - cmart514
 
38.
Danai Gurira
Danai Gurira was born in Grinnell, Iowa to parents from Zimbabwe, when her father was teaching Chemistry at Grinnell College. When she was 5, the family moved back to Zimbabwe. Gurira studied social psychology at Macalaster College, and received an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is the co-author of the play, "In the Continuum", with Nikkole Salter.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Visitor

Awards/Honors:

Box-Office: 24 million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Mother of George ” - cmart514
 
39.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: Our Family Wedding, Meet the Browns, The Last Fall

Awards/Honors:

Box-Office: 72 Million (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Tyler Perry's Temptation ” - cmart514
 
40.
“ Noteworthy Film Performances: The Samaritan

Awards/Honors:

Box-Office: 831K (Domestically)

Films Released in 2013: Twelve Years a Slave ” - cmart514