2018 has been a pretty great year for black-led films — from the record-shattering Black Panther to the critically acclaimed BlackKklansman — and there's still a few more to come before the year runs out, with Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk sitting atop our list.
Needless to say, the bar has been set pretty high for 2019, and from the looks of it, it will also be a really good year for cinema-goers. 2019 is delightfully packed with highly-anticipated films led by diverse casts, including The Lion King, Aladdin, Glass and many more.
So, as 2018 is coming to an end, we've decided to highlight some 2019 Hollywood films which will be led or co-led by actors of Nigerian descent. From David Oyelowo in Relive to Chiwetel Ejiofor in The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, these are the 2019 movies we are most excited for.
Cynthia Erivo in Harriet (September)
Fresh off the triumphant release of her latest movie, Widows, British-Nigerian actress, Cynthia Erivo is set to star in Harriet, an upcoming biopic based on the life of famous abolitionist and warrior, Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and led hundreds of people to freedom.
Speaking about the role, she said, "I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story. My journey to [Harriet] has been long and detailed, and one I have not taken lightly." Erivo will star in the movie alongside Janelle Monáe, Zackary Momoh and Deborah Ayorinde.
David Oyelowo in Relive (January)
David Oyelowo front-and-center in any movie is always a delight, but the Nigerian-American actor is trying his hand at something new. In 2019, he'll be starring in a horror film, Relive, from the same production company behind Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning hit, Get Out.
Set to debut at Sundance, Relive follows a man (Oyelowo) whose family dies in what appears to be a murder. Following this, he gets a phone call from one of the dead, his niece, and becomes unsure of whether he's hallucinating or whether he’s going mad — but as it turns out, he’s not.
Dayo Okeniyi in Emperor (October 4)
In 2019, Nigerian-American actor, Dayo Okeniyi, best known for his supporting roles in The Hunger Games, The Spectacular Now and NBC’s Shades of Blue, will play the lead in Emperor, a Civil War-era movie that tells the story of escaped slave, Shields Green.
Dayo plays Shields Green, who, in 1859, escaped from a plantation and made a daring journey north, where he met Frederick Douglass and John Brown. With the opportunity to continue to freedom in Canada, Green instead chose to fight to end slavery.
Chiwetel Ejiofor in The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (January)
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind, a semi-autobiographical book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer tells the story of how an enterprising teenager in Malawi built a windmill from scraps he found around his village, bringing electricity and a future to his family.
This inspiring story has been adapted for the big screen by Oscar-nominated actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, in what will be his directorial debut. The British-Nigerian actor also stars in the film, which has already been picked up by Netflix, as William's father, Tyrell Kamkwamba.
Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia (TBA)
For years, Uzo Aduba has won the hearts of audiences and critics alike for her Emmy-winning performance as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on Netflix's acclaimed dramedy, Orange Is The New Black. Now, she has landed her first-ever lead role in a feature film, Miss Virginia.
Miss Virginia follows a struggling single mother (Aduba) who moves her at-risk son from their dangerous neighbourhood school to an expensive one in a safer area. Sacrificing everything, but still unable to afford tuition, she launches a movement that changes her community.
John Boyega in Hold Back The Stars (TBA)
From Pacific Rim to the Star Wars franchise, it is evident that John Boyega absolutely dominates the sci-fi genre. Along with Letitia Wright, Boyega is set to star in 2019's Hold Back The Stars, a sci-fi and romance hybrid described by Deadline as "Romeo & Juliet meets Gravity".
John Boyega and Letitia Wright will play a couple reminiscing about their relationship, while slowly running out of oxygen in the vast emptiness of space. The movie is based on Katie Khan's acclaimed book of the same name.
Sam Adewunmi in The Last Tree (TBA)
Sam Adewunmi, the talented up-and-coming actor best known for his work in Stan Lee's Lucky Man (2016), The Hatton Garden Job (2017) and Doctor Who (2005), leads one of 2019's most exciting dramas, The Last Tree, from acclaimed director, Shola Amoo.
The Last Tree, follows the story of Femi, a British boy of Nigerian heritage, who, after a happy childhood in rural Lincolnshire, moves to inner London to live with his mum — an uncomfortable move which leads him down an interesting path of self-discovery.