In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting 12 talented young black actors -- all 35 and under -- who are making their mark on the big screen.

It's obviously not a comprehensive list, and it doesn't include outliers like Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson, who's already a household name, but these are a dozen actors who are all, like Nina Simone's song, 'Young, Gifted and Black' in Hollywood.

In honor of Black History Month, we're highlighting 12 talented young black actors -- all 35 and under -- who are making their mark on the big screen.

It's obviously not a comprehensive list, and it doesn't include outliers like Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson, who's already a household name, but these are a dozen actors who are all, like Nina Simone's song, 'Young, Gifted and Black' in Hollywood.

Zoe Saldana
Why Her: In 2009, the 31-year-old Dominican beauty had the kind of career-high year most actors only dream of, when she starred as the female lead in two of the year's biggest movies -- maybe you've heard of them? -- 'Star Trek' and 'Avatar.' Playing Uhura and Neytiri not only made Saldana an instant fanboy favorite, it catapulted her into full-blown Hollywood stardom.
Must See: In addition to her two sci-fi epics, Saldana's early roles in 'Center Stage' and 'Drumline' (both of which feature her dancing skills) are under-appreciated gems in her 25-movie filmography.
Coming Up: A sexy graphic-novel adaptation ('The Losers') a heist thriller ('Takers'), a comedy ('Death at a Funeral') and a much-anticipated sequel ('Star Trek 2')

Anthony Mackie

Why Him: Although his Oscar-nominated director Kathryn Bigelow and co-star Jeremy Renner have received more accolades, Mackie's central role in 'The Hurt Locker' hasn't gone unnoticed. His powerful performance as a somber bomb-unit specialist has earned him his own award nominations and the best reviews of his career.
Must See: For further proof of Mackie's range, check out his outstanding supporting roles in the indie drama 'Half Nelson' and the Oscar-winning 'Million Dollar Baby.'
Coming Up: The 30-year-old New Orleans native will play NOLA jazz legend Buddy Bolden and Olympic hero Jesse Owens in two upcoming biopics. He'll also stars in a Sundance indie ('Night Catches Us') and a Matt Damon drama ('The Adjustment Bureau') due out this year.

Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe
Why Her: She has an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nod and dozens of Best Actress awards from national critics groups for her tour-de-force performance as the illiterate, sexually abused titular character in 'Precious.'
Must See: 'Precious' is 26-year-old Sidibe's remarkable feature-film debut, and you won't win your friendly Oscar pool without seeing it.
Coming Up: Director Victoria Mahoney's Sundance Lab indie 'Yelling to the Sky,' the story of a three biracial sisters growing up in a violent New York neighborhood.

Quinton Aaron
Why Him: It's hard to imagine the box-office success of audience favorite 'The Blind Side' without Sandra Bullock and this guy right here. As Michael Oher, Aaron's Gentle-Giant portrayal is the heart of the Oscar-nominated football-and-family drama.
Must See: Before 'The Blind Side,' Aaron had only appeared in a few film shorts, TV cameos, and in an amusing supporting role in 'Be Kind Rewind.'
Coming Up: Although Aaron, 25, hasn't announced his next gig, we hope it's something less predictable than another athlete, bodyguard, or bouncer.

Derek Luke
Why Him: He channeled a young Sean Combs in the Notorious B.I.G. biopic 'Notorious,' and made 'Madea Goes to Jail' watchable as a conflicted young attorney.
Must See: Luke's award-winning feature debut in Denzel Washington's 'Antwone Fisher,' his supporting role in the indie darling 'Pieces of April,' and his adorably cocky football player in 'Friday Night Lights' are some his finest performances.
Coming Up: Luke, 35, starred in his first TV series, the EMT drama 'Trauma' last fall, but since its cancellation we expect him to return to the big screen soon.

Naturi Naughton
Why Her: After playing Lil' Kim in 'Notorious,' Naughton, 25, was one of the few bright spots in the 2009 'Fame' remake, which highlighted her amazing voice.
Must See: Watch Naturi sing Irene Cara's classic 'Fame' with Collin Pennie
Coming Up: Surprisingly, two lotto-themed dark comedies: 'Lottery Ticket' opposite Ice Cube and Brandon T. Jackson, and 'Highland Park' with Parker Posey and Danny Glover.


Columbus Short
Why Him: He acts. He sings. He dances and choreographs. Short's two 2009 movies, action flicks 'Armored' and 'Whiteout,' may not have been memorable, but the 27-year-old triple threat is undeniably talented.
Must See: Short was pitch-perfect as blues-rock legend Little Walter in 'Cadillac Records' and mesmerizing as a street-turned-step dancer in 'Stomp the Yard.'
Coming Up: He teams up with Zoe Saldana in 'The Losers' and 'Death at a Funeral,' and he's executive producing 'Stomp the Yard 2.'

Meagan Good
Why Her: Yes, she's gorgeous, but in her 22 films, the former child-star ('Eve's Bayou') has displayed such a range and charismatic presence that it's enough to forgive some of her schlockier roles ('The Unborn,' 'Saw V').
Must See: Start with her debut in 'Eve's Bayou,' skip ahead to the excellent teen indie 'Brick,' and check out her moves in 'Roll Bounce' and 'Stomp the Yard.'
Coming Up: Good is starring in and producing 'Video Girl,' ex-model Datari Turner's semi-autobiographical story about life in the hip-hop industry.

Brandon T. Jackson
Why Him: Stand-up comedians don't always make good actors, but Jackson's scene-stealing performance as gay rapper Alpa Chino 'Tropic Thunder' proved Jackson's got the chops.
Must See: Besides 'Tropic Thunder,' the hilarious making-of doc, 'Tropic Thunder: Rain of Madness.'
Coming Up: Jackson, 25, is a satyr with a mission in 'Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,' a spy in the Zach Galifianakis action-comedy 'Rogues Gallery,' and in 'The Lottery Ticket' opposite Bow Wow and Naturi Naughton.

Zoe Kravitz
Why Her: The daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, Kravitz' first noteworthy role was as a teen prostitute Jodie Foster saves in 'The Brave One,' but after two straight-to-DVD releases, 2010 is bound to be her break-through year.
Must See: Kravitz' scenes with Foster in 'The Brave One' are touching and even funny.
Coming Up: Kravitz, 21, has several projects slated for release, including three Sundance films: opposite Gabby Sidibe in the inner-city indie 'Yelling to the Sky,' with Carey Mulligan in the family drama 'The Greatest,' and in Joel Schumacher's drug-fueled high-school drama 'Twelve.'

Jaden Smith
Why Him: The 11-year-old son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jaden is best known for playing his dad's on-screen son in the Oscar-nominated 'The Pursuit of Happyness' and Jennifer Connelly's step-son in the not Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller 'The Day the Earth Stood Still.'
Must See: Young Smith and his pops have a (obviously) believable chemistry on-screen in 'Happyness' that makes it clear he's not just another beneficiary of Hollywood Nepotism.
Coming Up: Smith tries on Ralph Macchio's ceremonial headband in a new 'The Karate Kid' to "put on the jacket/take off the jacket" with martial-arts instructor Jackie Chan.

Damon Wayans Jr.
Why Him: In case his name isn't a dead giveaway, Wayans is the "next generation" of multi-talented Wayans kin. Wayans, 27, starred in 'Dance Flick,' which several of his uncles wrote and produced and cousin, Damien Dante Wayans, directed.
Must See:
In addition to acting, Wayans is a veteran comedy writer and stand-up on 'Def Comedy Jam,' 'The Underground' and his father's popular ABC show, 'My Wife and Kids.'
Coming Up:
Next, he'll appear in Adam McKay's upcoming Will Ferrell cop comedy 'The Other Guys.'