James Ellroy's novels include The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere and, most recently, Perfidia. He lives in Los Angeles, the setting for much of his work. Christopher Polk/Getty Images for AFI hide caption

itoggle caption Christopher Polk/Getty Images for AFI

Scene still from Bert Williams Lime Kiln Field Day Project. Bert Williams, Walker Thompson (standing center), John Wesley Jenkins (seated right). In a concession to white audiences, Williams, the lead, wore blackface, but the other black characters did not. Museum of Modern Art hide caption

itoggle caption Museum of Modern Art

Paul Wong (Harry Shum, Jr.) leads the Green Dragons, a young, Asian-American gang that trafficked Chinese immigrants into the U.S. with help from the so-called "Snakehead Mama" (Eugenia Yuan). Courtesy of A24 Films hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of A24 Films

In Birdman, Ed Norton (right) plays a talented but pretentious actor in a Broadway play being directed by an actor he disrespects (Michael Keaton, left) for having starred in a series of Birdman superhero films. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures