That screwy, ballyhooey Hollywhite
Where any office boy or young mechanic
Can be a panic, with just a goodlooking pan.
A white goodlooking pan:
2016 Oscar nominations will be announced early tomorrow morning, Thursday at 5:38am PT. Ahead of that, I thought I’d take a brief look at what black actors, directors and films just might be in contention. I say I’ll be brief because, well, as I’m sure you already realize, pickings are slim this year, as they have been almost every year since the first Academy Awards event.
But in terms of black nominees, here are the names and titles that I think could contend in the major categories:
– Best Picture: Since the Academy upped the number of nominees to 10 in this specific category, this may be one category in which “anything black” may get a nod; and 3 films immediately come to mind as possible contenders: “Straight Outta Compton,” “Creed” and “Beasts of No Nation.” All 3 received much critical attention, and the first 2 are blockbusters. “Beasts” is a *smaller* so-called arthouse film anyway, so it wasn’t expected to be a commercial hit. Also, Netflix released it both in theaters and on its streaming platform on the same day, so its theatrical box office potential was cut by the fact that, I’d guess, most of us probably watched it at home.
– Best Director: The directors of 2 of the above films have the best shot – F. Gary Gray for “Straight Outta Compton” and Ryan Coogler for “Creed.” Neither is a favorite to make the list of 5 nominees in this category, but, in a year in which diversity seems to have been a kind of industry rallying cry, we might be surprised by a selection in a category here and there.
– Best Actor: This is a tough category because there are too many strong nominees here, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Cranston and others all impressing with solid individual performances. The list goes on and is strong. In terms of black actors who might contend, the most obvious here are Will Smith (“Concussion”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”), Samuel L. Jackson (“Hateful Eight”) and Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation”). At first glance, Attah might be considered the least likely. But when you consider that Quvenzhané Wallis was nominated for Best Actress for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in 2013 (both child actors in critically-acclaimed films), Attah definitely has a shot.
– Best Actress: An even tougher category in part because there are much fewer black actresses (compared to black actors) who starred in any Oscar-caliber films released in 2015. The knee-jerk reaction is usually to criticize the Academy for its lack of diversity in terms of nominees, but it all starts with the work. People of color have to first be cast in films that can contend for the highest honors in all of the industry. As Viola Davis said during her Emmy Awards acceptance speech last year, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” The same goes for the other gender. All that said, the only black actresses with any real shot at nominations are Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez for thier performances in “Tangerine.” Long shots for either of them, although, as shared on this blog in October, Magnolia Pictures and the Duplass Brothers teamed up to launch an Oscar campaign for both “Tangerine” stars, for what has been the first awards season push for transgender actresses by a movie distributor in Hollywood history. Rodriguez is being pushed as Lead Actress, and Taylor as Supporting. Mark Duplass said: “Jay and I are new to the Academy, so we’re just figuring this whole thing out. One thing that has become apparent to us as we look at this stuff, it seems that the TV Academy has embraced what’s happening in the trans movement with ‘Transparent’ and ‘Orange is the New Black.’ We feel that the film Academy is a little behind on that front […] This is the time for it. We’re in the middle of a civil rights movement.”
– Best Supporting Actor: This might be the only category in which a nomination of a black actor/actress in any of the acting categories, is most likely – and that will be Idris Elba for his performance in “Beasts of No Nation.” Although Jason Mitchell’s name has popped up on a few “expert” lists here and there for his performance in “Straight Outta Compton.” So he might make the cut as well. It’s just that Elba is the one name that’s on just about every list I’ve seen in this specific category.
– Best Supporting Actress: As noted in Best Actress category, Mya Taylor may be a contender for “Tangerine” if Magnolia Pictures’ campaigning has had any effect on voters; and also, there’s that diversity thing again, as the Academy may see this as an opportunity to make a statement that will resound with the transgender community. As Mark Duplass said above, “One thing that has become apparent to us as we look at this stuff, it seems that the TV Academy has embraced what’s happening in the trans movement with ‘Transparent’ and ‘Orange is the New Black.’ We feel that the film Academy is a little behind on that front […] This is the time for it.” Also, a very long shot might be Gugu Mbatha-Raw for “Concussion.” But there’s really been zero buzz around her for her work in the film. And Tessa Thompson in “Creed” – although there’s really been no push or buzz around her either.
– Best Original Screenplay: “Straight Outta Compton” is in the top 5 of a number of “expert” lists that I read, so it looks like a strong contender here. And also “Creed” could make the top 5. But of the two, “Compton” seems most like a sure-thing. Although what may not be widely-known is that the screenplay was written by 2 white writers: Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff. So if it is nominated, it’ll certainly be good for the film itself, but, ultimately, the writers will get the glory, and the award in the end, should it actually be nominated and go on to win in this category.
– Best Adapted Screenplay: “Beasts of No Nation” is really the only contender here. It’s based on Nigerian author Uzodinma Iweala’s novel of the same name; although Cary Joji Fukunaga, the director, adapted the novel to screenplay, so if it is nominated in this category, Fukunaga’s name will be on the plaque, not Iweala’s.
You already know where this is going, don’t you?
In addition to “The Revenant,” the nominees for best picture are “Spotlight,” “The Big Short,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Brooklyn,” “Bridge of Spies” and “Room.”
The nominees for best director are Alejandro González Iñárritu (“The Revenant”), Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”), George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”), Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) and Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”).
The nominees for best actor are DiCaprio (“The Revenant”), Matt Damon (“The Martian”), Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”).
The nominees for best actress are Cate Blanchett (“Carol”), Brie Larson (“Room”), Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”) and Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).
The nominees for best supporting actor are Christian Bale (“The Big Short”), Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”), Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”) and Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”).
The nominees for best supporting actress are Rooney Mara (“Carol”), Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”), Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”), Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”) and Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”).
The nominees for best original screenplay are “Spotlight,” “Ex Machina,” “Inside Out,” “Bridge of Spies” and “Straight Outta Compton.”
The nominees for best adapted screenplay are “Carol,” “The Big Short,” “The Martian,” “Room” and “Brooklyn.”
Creed and Straight Outta Compton—two African American nominations! Woo-hoo!
Nominating only white people, even in films featuring mostly black people, is bad. But is it worse what happened to The Color Purple in 1985?
The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Goldberg and Best Supporting Actress for both Avery and Winfrey. It failed to win any of them, tying the record set by 1977’s The Turning Point for the most Oscar nominations without a single win.
Want the best laugh of all? Purple lost out in a couple of major categories to Out of Africa, a movie about white folks in Africa! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!
PS: Not to rub kosher salt in the wound, but…
The Hungarian Holocaust film “Son of Saul” was nominated for the best foreign film Academy Award.
Other Jewish Oscar nominees include Steven Spielberg, producer and director of “Bridge of Spies,” which made the shortlist for best picture. The film, which tells the story of a Cold War prisoner exchange, is based on a screenplay by filmmaker brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.
Also in the running is Israel-born super producer Arnon Milchan, whose Leonardo di Caprio thriller “The Revenant” is also in contention for best picture.
Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated as best supporting actress for her role in the “The Hateful Eight,” about eight strangers seeking refuge from a blizzard during the American Civil War.
The documentary “Amy,” about the British Jewish singer Amy Winehouse,” was nominated for best documentary.
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,”about the director of the epic Holocaust documentary “Shoah,” was nominated for best documentary short.
Even a movie about a movie beat anything by African Americans. Black Lives Matter, but not on the silver screen.