Kerry Washington ("Scandal" and "Django Unchained"): Washington has bounced between TV shows and movies in small roles like Alicia Masters, the love interest of the Thing in "The Fantastic Four." Then 2012 brought her two projects: house slave Broomhilda in the Quentin Tarantino vehicle "Django Unchained," and Olivia Pope in "Scandal," a character inspired by George H.W. Bush's deputy press aide, Judy Smith.
About the slave-era spaghetti Western (Spike Lee protestations aside), Washington said to the Standard that she was eager to do a film that wouldn't "shy away from the awful truth of how terrible this sin against humanity was," despite her trepidation when it came to doing scenes of her being whipped, branded, and imprisoned in a box. But in addition to showing how far America has come, Washington shows how far it still needs to go: "Scandal" is the first network show to feature a black actress in the lead since "Julia" (which ran from 1968 to 1971). That show got Diahann Carroll an Emmy nomination for the same category, Lead Actress in a Drama, but not the win. Odds, however, are looking good for Washington.
Below, a clip from "Django Unchained."