For decades, Wes Studi has navigated his path through the TV and film industry.
He’s long been the voice of Indigenous representation with his ground-breaking roles in mainstream and independent film.
For this reason, the New Mexico resident is being presented with the Muhammad Ali Voice of Humanity Honor on Sunday, Dec. 18, in Los Angeles.
The honor is being given out by the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences (SOVAS).
“How can I become more humane?” Studi asks. “I’m happy to be in voice work and it’s something that I’ve come to enjoy.”
This year’s awards ceremony will be at Warner Bros. in Burbank, California, and Studi will be traveling for the award.
“Maybe this is time for my mic drop,” Studi says with a laugh. “It’s always an honor for people to recognize the work that I do. I don’t work hard to get awards. I’m happy to be able to work in this industry and lend my voice to many causes.”
Voice-over talent from Hollywood and from around the world will be in attendance.
The awards are a global celebration of the industry’s best voice-over actors, including major categories in English, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and English-speaking Africa.
They cover more than 100 categories ranging from voices for motion picture animation and TV commercials to audiobooks, spoken word, political ads, toys and audio description for the blind and low-vision community.
Studi will join the list of previous winners Manuela Testolini, Lonnie Ali and Barack Obama.
“The Voice Arts Awards demonstrates the power of acknowledgement and diversity through inviting other countries, not as a ‘foreign’ addendum, but as equal artists of the world sharing in a creative platform,” says Rudy Gaskins, SOVAS chairman and CEO.
Headliner nominees include Uzo Aduba, Stephanie Beatriz, H. Jon Benjamin, Chadwick Boseman, James Brolin, Mel Brooks, Rosalie Chiang, Chris Evans, Bill Hader, John Leguizamo, John Mulaney, Ruth Negga, Sandra Oh, Keke Palmer, Hayden Panettiere, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Kristen Schaal, Peter Sohn, Taika Waititi, Julia Whelan and Wilmer Valderrama.
When it comes to voice work, Studi says it should be held on the same level as appearing in front of the camera.
“Voice work contains all of the things that you would do in front of the camera – without having to go through make up and wardrobe,” he says. “You are acting out these different characters.”
Studi keeps steady work with doing voice-over work for services like Audible.
“I actually started doing this back in the day before I started in film,” he says. “Books on tape was a survival job. I got away from it for awhile while I was in front of the camera. I’m finding some great projects to work on now.”
Some of the projects Studi is working on are two books by Vine Deloria Jr. – “God is Red” and “The World We Used to Live In.”
“We actually just finished up ‘God is Red’ and it’s now in Audible’s court for the release,” Studi says. “It should be released early next year as the book is hitting 50 years since it was released.”
Studi also has an animated feature slated for released in the near future. This was a project that he holds close to his heart.
“I voiced it a year or two ago and it continues to change names,” he says. “It’s done in the Cherokee language. I got to use my original language and that is very special.”