Friday, February 11, 2011

Where are the black people?

Kudos to A. R. Rahman for bringing some colour to the above photo from the recent Oscar nominees luncheon. While I was thoroughly pleased with the quality of cinema in 2010, I am slightly disappointed by the lack of black nominees for the Oscars. By now you would think that there would be a fair amount of black representation in the film industry? Wrong! This will be the most whitewashed Oscars since 2001. There are many reasons for the lack of black folk. Much of it is due to the lack of meaty roles for black people in good scripts. However, some of the blame has to go to the black filmmakers themselves. I watched "The Color Purple" last night and it really blew my mind that a white man could produce such an authentic, earnest "African-American drama. There is so much potential for black actors, but the directors and producers need to take more risks, rather than go for the easy factory-line cheap black comedies that we get so often. "For Colored Girls" had so much potential to be an Oscar candidate, but was ruined by Tyler Perry's adaptation of a strong play into just another overly melodramatic "Tyler Perry movie". However, there were a few noteworthy acting performances this year, who may have garnered Oscar nominations with a better publicity team (although I personally wouldn't substitute them for any of the nominees). These include:

Kerry Washington (Mother and Child AND Night Catches Us)
Halle Berry (Frankie and Alice)
Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise and Thandie Newton (For Colored Girls)
Anthony Mackie (Night Catches Us)

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