Top Picks: Regina King

Confident, versatile and ambitious: These are the words to best describe multitalented actress Regina King. From her early days as a child star on the hit series 227, she later rose to prominence playing supporting roles in the films Boyz 'n the Hood, Friday and Jerry Maguire.

Since then, she's received an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and four Primetime Emmys, the most for an African American performer. King's talents extend off-camera as well. Her directorial debut, One Night in Miami, premiered at the Venice Film Festival to rave reviews and is headed to Amazon Prime Video.

In honor of King's 50th birthday on January 15, I'm sharing some of my favorite movies from one of today's most influential actresses. 

Poetic Justice: In this John Singleton classic, King portrays Iesha, the sassy best friend who accompanies her best friend Justice on a cross-country road trip. This was King's second acting role, following Boyz 'n the Hood.  

If Beale Street Could Talk: Barry Jenkins' cinematic masterpiece depicts King as a devoted mother whose soon-to-be son-in-law is wrongfully accused of an awful crime. It is this role that earned King the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Ray: Jamie Foxx may have been the leading man in this biopic, but King's portrayal of the talented yet troubled background singer Marjorie Hendrix made her a certified scene-stealer. 

Watchmen: In this HBO miniseries, King portrays the strong-willed Detective Angela Abar whose alter ego Sister Night is a master martial artist and expert acrobat. 

These are a few of my favorite Regina King roles. Who could forget her voicing Huey and Riley Freeman on The Boondocks? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments.