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.
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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.
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.
Black Talent News picked up an AOL Black Voices story that ran during the start of the award season: Rashida Jones and Yaya DaCosta were apparently snubbed when it came time for nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”) Award. What makes this oversight sting so much is the fact that many in the actor’s branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences also vote in the SAG Awards.
Coming off a year when the movie Precious seemed to be the only hope for a Black actor or director to even be considered, it seems that the movie industry is sending a message that they could care less about Blacks in front of the camera or behind it.
The film award season is sparked by a series of awards to reward the past year of film. A part of that season involves the announcement of nominations, including the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, and the culmination of all of these in the Academy Awards. The Film Experience blog goes even deeper to outline who and where actors were omitted!
According to AOL Black Voices:
While Halle Berry received a Golden Globe nomination for her work in ‘Frankie and Alice,’ she was left off the list when nominations for the 17th SAG Awards were announced.
Berry was one of many actors who were snubbed, but one of the biggest omissions, as noted by The Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers, is among the films nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Yaya DaCosta and Rashida Jones were left off the ensemble list from their respected films, ‘The Social Network’ and ‘The Kids Are All Right.’
“Yaya DaCosta, who so deliciously handles her role of Ruffalo’s lover and employee. Seriously now, she delivers fantastic line readings in this movie and underlines some of the movie’s more subtle points about Ruffalo’s character as well as contributing to its randy high spirits. I consider it an egregious omission,” states Rogers.
Overture Films announced today that it has acquired Celeste and Jesse Forever, a romantic comedy co-written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack. Jones will also star in the film to be produced by Suzanne and Jennifer Todd of Team Todd.
According to Overture Films, “Rashida is among the brightest and funniest young actresses today and we are delighted to be working with her,” Overture CEO Chris McGurk and COO Danny Rosett said. “The script she and Will have put together is witty and touching and with Team Todd in the mix, the project has great promise.”
Team Todd is behind the successful Austin Powers franchise and has also produced the Oscar®-nominated musical adventure Across the Universe, the romantic comedies Must Love Dogs and Prime, and the Oscar®-nominated thriller Memento. The company is currently in post-production on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp. Disney is scheduled to release the 3-D film in March 2010.
Overture Films (www.overturefilms.net) develops, produces, acquires, and distributes feature length, theatrical motion pictures worldwide. The studio is a wholly owned unit of Starz Media, a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group. Its affiliated companies, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Starz Entertainment, make the films available domestically to viewers via home video, premium television, Internet and other outlets.
Former television girlfriend of “The Office” character Jim Halpert, the “real life” Rashida Jones, has scored another sweet spot on NBC!
She’ll be starring alongside SNL’s Amy Poehler in another quirky sitcom called “Park and Recreation.” Staying on her quirky streak, she plays the “straight girl” to the wackiness of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, in the comedy “I Love You Man.”
Paul Rudd is box office gold when it comes to comedy , and he’s starred in such hits as the “40 Year Old Virgin,” “Role Models,” “Clueless,” and a host of other Frat Pack films. Hopefully, this will only add to Ms. Jones’ comedy cache!