In honor of Black History Month, Variety sat down with some highly regarded faces in Hollywood to honor influential Black films they will remember forever.
Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong'o said that The Color Purple is one of the first major films she remembers to feature a dark-skinned, natural-haired Black women in a lead role. “It was one of the first films I watched where a woman had my complexion and my hair texture,” she reflects. “That was deeply, deeply moving and influential."
Get Out director Jordan Peele gave major props to Spike Lee's X and the 1989 film Glory, which starred Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. “All the performances were great it in," Peele said about Glory, "but that was one where it felt like the black performers—even though they were the supporting characters in that movie and [were] looked at as supporting characters in the country—were lead roles."
Ryan Coogler, who is garnering praise and loads of media attention for directing Black Panther, walked us through some of his most cherished films and talked about being inspired by legendary directors like John Singleton, Spike Lee, and Ava DuVernay. "I got friends in this industry that make movies I'm inspired by all the time. You look at what Ava makes and what Jordan [Peele] just made and what Dee [Rees] makes. There’s no shortage of it. I just can’t wait to see what they make next.”
Check out the video to see some of the top picks from Common, Raphael Saadiq, Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright, and Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya.