Why Chiwetel Ejiofor & Cynthia Erivo Deserve To Be In This Year’s Oscar Conversation

Voting for the 91st Academy Awards began yesterday, and while some films feel like sure bets to land a ton of nominations — specifically Black Panther and A Star Is Born — the fate of a bunch of other solid films and performances are still very much up in the air.

Black Panther (Photo: Marvel Studios)

So, we’ve decided to do our part to champion two criminally overlooked performances — Chiwetel Ejiofor in Come Sunday and Cynthia Erivo in Bad Times at the El Royale — that rank among the very best of 2018, and completely deserve to be in the ongoing Oscar conversation.

Cynthia Erivo for 'Best Supporting Actress'

Following a breakout turn in the Broadway revival of The Colour Purplewhich landed her a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmy — Erivo brought her talents to the big screen, shining in two of 2018’s best films: Steve McQueen’s Widows and Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale.

While her work in Widows is certainly deserving of praise, it’s her performance in the underseen Bad Times that should nab the British-Nigerian her first Oscar nod. Showing off both her dramatic chops and her fantastic singing voice, Erivo stole the spotlight from a slew of Hollywood heavyweights.

Chiwetel Ejiofor for 'Best Actor'

Chiwetel Ejiofor is one of the strongest actors working in Hollywood, and even though none of his 2018 films — Mary Magdalene, Sherlock Gnomes and Come Sunday — fared particularly well with critics or audiences, his performances were always singled out for praise.

So, since awards bodies are willing to overlook Bohemian Rhapsody's many problems and reward Rami Malek’s fantastic lead performance, then Ejiofor certainly deserves to land his second Oscar nomination for his career-best turn in Netflix’s middling religious drama, Come Sunday.