Oscars revert back to old ways

Not that I need validation, but guess what? CNN.com is asking the same questions about diversity and the Oscars. There were high hopes –well, sort of– when Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammie” in the big screen version of Gone with the Wind… then it took 62 years for a Black woman to get another Oscar®. Then there was a breath of fresh air as Mo’Nique won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie Precious, and Geoffrey Fletcher won for Best Adapted Screenplay. As the years between Oscar-wins for African Americans got shorter, there were many people in the film industry who assumed that would indicate that Black actors were now just being considered “actors” and not “Black actors” who are relegated to straight-to-video “urban” gangsta films.

Wrong!

Regardless of the slew of Blacks in front of and behind the camera at last year’s Academy Awards, apparently 2010 just couldn’t cut it. Even though there were some brilliant Black actresses in leading films (Rashida Jones, The Social Network and Yaya DaCosta, The Kids Are Alright) a sister (or a brother) just couldn’t get any recognition.

According to CNN.com:

This year there was a decided dearth of diversity in the Oscar nominations. There are no women or people of color among the director nominees, and the acting nominees are all white. Javier Bardem, who is up for best actor for his role in “Biutiful,’ is a Spaniard and therefore European.

So what does it take for Black actors and filmmakers to get any real recognition at the Oscars? I have no clue. And apparently neither does the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science.

Read the entire article at CNN.com.

Congratulations to Mo’Nique

It was a long and arduous road for comedienne and actress Mo’Nique. Many in Hollywood dismissed her as a comedic actress in “low-budget” movies that only appealed to a small, niche audience.

Even when she won the Golden Globes, the only thing the media could talk about were her unshaven legs –which is not so unusually in the Black community, but apparently it’s close to patricide in other communities.

[picappgallerysingle id=”8198416″] Facebook and Twitter have been all a flutter about the Best Supporting Actress race. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even acquiesced to the masses and dropped last year’s Best Supporting Actrtess winner, Penelope Cruz, into the race for the awful “Nine”! Nine? Really?

Industry insiders were positive that Mo’Nique wouldn’t get the award, even though the Golden Globes are a good indicator of Oscar(tm) wins –and losses.

What was the fallout about?

Some speculate that it was the celebrity backing of the film that turned some people off. However, if it hadn’t been for the backing of multi-gazillionaires Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, according to Tyler Perry at last night’s Oscars(tm), “…they thought it would go straight to DVD.”

Mo’Nique said it best during her acceptance speech: “First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics. ”

[picappgallerysingle id=”7787866″] Mo’Nique, in an usually appearance of understatement, was royal, regal and classy, in addressing her peers and the detractors.

Will her win translate to new, non-comedic roles? Will she find more leading actor doors opened for her in Hollywood. The future will determine how Hollywood handles her unconventional earthiness and authenticity, especially in such a plastic-focused industry.

[picappgallerysingle id=”8198011″] Is Hollywood ready to return to the rawness of reality, and to shirk the glossy, Stepford Wife look of their leading ladies? Hopefully so.

But it is Mo’Nique’s decision to figure out how she will work her new found fame and success. She will determine what is best for herself, her family and her future.

All that to say, Congratulations, Mo’Nique!

Mo’Nique’s Acceptance Speech:

First, I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics.

I want to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to.

Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey because you touched it, the whole world saw it.

Ricky Anderson, our attorney of Anderson & Smith, thank you for your hard work.

My entire BET family, my Precious family, thank you so much.

To my amazing husband Sidney, thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forego doing what’s popular in order to do what’s right.

And baby, you were so right.

God bless us all.

Mo’Nique at the Paramount in Oakland April 3rd

For all of you fans of Golden Globe-winning actress and comedienne Mo’Nique, she is scheduled to appear at the Oakland Paramount on (my birthday!) April 3, 2010!

[picappgallerysingle id=”7635814″] Tickets go on sale February 26, 2010, and everyone’s buzzing about buying tickets early because she’s a favorite for an Oscar(r) at this year’s Academy Awards for her caustic role in the Oscar-nominated film “Precious.”

Stay tuned as more information comes in!

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Mo’Nique Wins Golden Globe for Precious

Actress and comedienne Mo’Nique won her first Golden Globe, for her role as the abusive mother in the film “Precious.” Mo’Nique’s role already generated much buzz about an Oscar(r) when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, last year. In Tinsel Town, the Golden Globes are often the predictor of how the Oscars(r) will shape up.

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In true Hollywood-style, everyone buzzed about Mo’Nique’s au naturale legs, which is an unfair and petty dig at her Golden Globe accomplishment and hard work. So, here’s to you, Mo’Nique! Congratulations on your talent, skill and accomplishment!

Visit Mo’Nique’s Official Web-Site: http://www.1monique.com/

NY Times features Precious

By now, many of us have heard about director Lee Daniels’ directorial masterpiece “Precious,” and how Oprah Winfrey produced, and how it won the Audience Award at Sundance, etc., but finally the New York Times thought enough of it’s many accomplishments to feature it in their October 21st Magazine.

“Precious” is controversial and demanding, and the subject matter makes many –especially in the African American community– quite uncomfortable. Like “The Color Purple” before it, the subject matter of dejected, ridiculed, emotional and physically abused Black women, somehow pushes all of the right buttons. Add to this drama the fact that it’s focused on an obese, dark-skinned, illiterate, young Black woman, and now all of America has an opinion. Rarely is are African American women commented upon outside of the glossy, capped tooth world of entertainment, but this film wasn’t presented at your local movie theater, but at the art-crowd world of film festivals.

If you’ve ever questioned the validity and strength of film festivals, this film may prove you wrong.

Actress Gabourey Sidibe speaks onstage at the Precious-Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 13, 2009 in Toronto, Canada

Buzz started at the Sundance Film Festival, when the film was known as “Push.” Unfortunately, there was another film that came out at the same time and had the same name, but that film had major studio backing, big names, over the top CGI, ear-bleeding sound effects and lousy acting. Guess who won.

“Precious” is based on a book called “Push,” written by the author Sapphire, and the book is based on her life of abuse and low-self-esteem.

The Times’ article is interesting in some of the quotes it chose to add, though it is worth reading, especially for Lee Daniels’ insight on the world of film festivals… which is why we have the International Black Women’s Film Festival (www.ibwff.com). One of the quotes I found odd, though insightful, is from Mr. Daniels. The average American may have no clue regarding the context, and I wish they’d use the opportunity to “educate” the reader. Mr. Daniels is quoted as saying:

Director Lee Daniels attends Precious

‘Precious’ is so not Obama,” Daniels said. “ ‘Precious’ is so not P.C. What I learned from doing the film is that even though I am black, I’m prejudiced. I’m prejudiced against people who are darker than me. When I was young, I went to a church where the lighter-skinned you were, the closer you sat to the altar. Anybody that’s heavy like Precious — I thought they were dirty and not very smart. Making this movie changed my heart. I’ll never look at a fat girl walking down the street the same way again.

As someone who is not into fetish-izing pain, adversity or dysfunction, I do believe this is a fresh opportunity to open up dialogs that are too quickly shut down in society.

“Precious” screened at the Toronto International Film Festival

Sundance 2009 grand Jury Prize and Audience Award Winner “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” screened to an enthusiastic audience at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival!

Media moguls Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Films) and Tyler Perry backed Lionsgate Films’ acquisition of North American distribution rights to the film. Lionsgate acquired the film February 2, 2009.

This is the first film distributed under Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Banner. According to Suite 101, the film stars Mo’Nique, Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd, Nealla Gordon, Stephanie Andujar, and Grammy-winning artists Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.