Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 27 : Regina King

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 27 is Regina King, and writer Michael Frank discusses her career over the last decade.

By Michael Frank

A perennial badass and an actor that knows no bounds, Regina King jumped into our lives with “Boyz n the Hood” and announcing she was here to stay with a role in “Jerry Maguire”.  King’s career rides an odd wave, flipping between action series such as “24” and more recently “Watchmen” and motherly roles in dramas like “Shameless”, “The Leftovers”, and her Oscar-winning performance in “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

Versatile yet always bringing star quality, King constantly lives up to her name. In the last decade, she gave audiences performances filled with love, passion, and strength, battling everything from our justice system to futuristic right-wing groups.

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Regina King at an event for The Oscars (2019)

Though you might always know you’re watching Regina King in a film, as her performances are less chameleon-like and more lion-like, she never fails to be resonant. Having an Oscar to her name certainly helps the resume as well. Though she has had a great decade overall, the majority of her success, from critics and audiences alike, has come in the last three years.

Versatile yet always bringing star quality, King constantly lives up to her name. In the last decade, she gave audiences performances filled with love, passion, and strength.

With her emotional role in ‘Beale Street’ and action-oriented (but still emotional) role in “Watchmen”, she has cemented herself as an actor we constantly want to see on the screen. This decade, Regina King became one of the few actors we hope will pop up in every film, for we know she provides a special quality to any of the projects she’s involved with, regardless of genre, type, or medium. She has entered an elite tier of actors, those we revere and relate to, those that have an influence extending far beyond the credits of a film or television series.

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Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Playing Sharon Rivers, the mother of a young, pregnant girl and the stepmother of a young, African-American man accused of a crime he didn’t commit, King gives a tender and impassioned performance in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk”. Her supporting role was the aspects of the film you remember most, with her mission to Puerto Rico to change the mind of the woman who implicated her stepson. She continually provides and works, winning over the audience in the process. Her ethic and seeming unrelenting love jumps off the screen, blurring the lines of performance and reality.

This decade, Regina King became one of the few actors we hope will pop up in every film, for we know she provides a special quality to any of the projects she’s involved with, regardless of genre, type, or medium.

Since that film, many look at King with a different eye and a new perspective, one of admiration closing in on a more sacred veneration. It’s a role that shows she can carry a movie on her shoulders, even if she isn’t the lead character. It shows her ability to provide for others, lifting up those around her instead of outshining them to the point of degradation. Regina King is certainly special.

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Regina King and Andrew Howard in Watchmen (2019) © HBO

HBO’s “Watchmen” shows Regina King in a different light, giving her the opportunity to completely command a limited series. She performs the high-wire act of being a cold and calculated vigilante with being a loving and concerned wife and mother. King’s ability to easily perform this dichotomy creates an unmissable lead in one of 2019’s most acclaimed and watched seasons of television.

With any luck, Regina King’s next five years will be just as good as her last. If we, as audience members, have any luck, her next decade will be even better, and we’ll all have even more reasons to admire the great King.

Let us know your favourite Regina King performance in the comments below.

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