Oscars

Dear Oscars: Don’t Do to ‘Moonlight’ What You Did to These Black Films

Lawrence Ware

This is a historic year, but I’ve learned to temper my enthusiasm about black folks winning Academy Awards. While winning the coveted Oscar is often considered the high mark of one’s career, there are many examples of when the academy failed to recognize the best film made in a given year or even the best actor or actress nominated. I will never forgive the academy for failing to nominate Do the Right Thing for best picture. That year the Oscar went to Driving Miss Daisy.

Oscar-Nominated Doc Brings Back James Baldwin’s Voice for New Generation

Damaso Reyes

If you think the height of documentary filmmaking comes from the brain of Ken Burns, Peck’s taut exploration of the life of one of America’s literary geniuses will come as a welcome revelation. Yes, there is archival footage mixed in with contemporary imagery, but there are no talking heads. There are no historians or professors emeritus explaining what we have or are about to see on-screen. For the most part, we simply have Baldwin himself, alternating mostly between frustration and indignation and occasionally bemusement.

Why Do the Oscars Ignore Actors of Color?

Jacqueline Keeler

Even films like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” which were viewed as Oscar contenders only garnered nominations for Sylvester Stallone and white writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff. And, unsurprisingly, after 88 years there are still no Oscar nominations for Native American actors or filmmakers or writers. Indians have been a part of Hollywood at least as long as the cowboy. But the struggle to disentangle our modern selves from the old storylines set up at the dawn of the medium of cinema continues into the 21st century.

‘American Sniper,’ ‘Strange Magic’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Director Clint Eastwood’s meditation on the life of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was the hit of the movie award’s season. It won only a single Oscar (for sound editing), but it was up for six awards including best picture, and it grossed more than all the other best picture nominees combined. In other words, the film was a critical darling as well as a box-office smash, a combination that is difficult to achieve.    

‘The Imitation Game,’ ‘Wild’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“The Imitation Game” won only a single Academy Award (best adapted screenplay for Graham Moore) in February, but the movie’s nomination tally is a better representation of its quality. The tightly paced suspense film, which depicts key moments in the life of British computer pioneer Alan Turing, received eight nominations, including nods for best picture, best director, best actor and best supporting actress. 

‘Whiplash,’ ‘Big Hero 6’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In “Whiplash,” J.K. Simmons plays Terrence Fletcher, a college music professor so brutal and intense that he is literally capable of making students ill. It’s a role Simmons inhabits completely, and it has, quite correctly, become one of the most celebrated performances of the movie awards season. Fletcher is, in the simplest sense, a monster. But he is also capable of inspiring his students to greatness.

6 Reason Why ’12 Years a Slave’ Matters

Genetta M. Adams

Director Steve McQueen’s hauntingly graphic depiction of slavery even made some people declare they were sitting this one out because they couldn’t bear to watch. The film has seeped into America culture. The long-term effects may never be fully measured, but the recent announcement that both the movie and the memoir on which it is based will be used in high school curricula ensures that people will be discussing it for years to come.

Movie Watch: A Look at This Year's Oscar Contenders

Forrest Hartman

With Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto winning best actor and best supporting actor from numerous awards groups, they are the unquestioned frontrunners in the Oscar race. McConaughey famously lost more than 40 pounds to portray real-life AIDS victim Ron Woodruff. The Dallas resident refused to see his disease as a death sentence and began smuggling experimental medications into the U.S., then selling them to others with HIV. Leto plays a transgender woman who was created by screenwriters as a composite of numerous people in Woodruff’s life. 

Movies to Watch in 2014

Kate Voss

Now that the awards season is almost over, with only the Academy Awards remaining, our attention turns toward the most eagerly awaited films of 2014. This past year focused on real-life stories, with stellar accomplishments like 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, The Butler, and Mandela. However, 2014 is looking to both expand on and provide some counterpoint to this trend, with a new crop of fantasy, sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural films, as well as historical fiction.

‘Dallas Buyer’s Club,’ ‘About Time’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

McConaughey famously lost more than 40 pounds to portray real-life AIDS victim Ron Woodruff. The Dallas resident refused to see his disease as a death sentence and began smuggling experimental medications into the U.S., then selling them to others with HIV. Leto plays a transgender woman named Rayon, who was created by screenwriters as a composite of numerous people in Woodruff’s life.

 

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