All Articles Tagged "african american actors"
It’s not quite Oscar time, but the awards season has already started. Before that ultimate awards ceremony, there are a number of others such as Critics’ Choice Awards (Jan. 10, 2013), the Golden Globes (Jan. 13, 2013), Screen Actors Guild Awards (Jan. 27), and The Independent Spirit Awards (Feb. 23, 2013). There’s also the African-American Film Critics Awards, which last year held its awards ceremony in December. We didn’t see an announcement on their website for this year, but it should be around the same time. The awards season culminates with the Academy Awards on February 24th, 2013.
What does this mean for Black Hollywood? While nominations and awards have been increasing for black actors, they’re still few and far between. To be exact there have been just 27 blacks who have won an Oscar in the awards’ 84 years. Maybe one of the upcoming black films we reported on recently could be a contender.
Last year the awards season was all abuzz with The Help. And again this year actress Viola Davis is being talked about as a possible Oscar contender for Best Actress her role in Won’t Back Down. Jamie Foxx is in a film that has already taken home an award: Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which took screenplay honors at the Hollywood Film Awards.
One sure contender is Lincoln, featuring Gloria Reuben, S. Epatha Merkeson, and David Oyelowo. Geoge Lucas’ Tuskegee Airman saga Red Tails has also been mentioned in Oscar talks; Nate Parker, Terence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tristan Wilds, Elijah Kelly, Ne-Yo, David Oyelowo, Michael B. Jordan all starred. Some critics are saying Whitney Houston should be considered for a supporting actress award for her performance in Sparkle. Cloud Atlas, with Halle Berry, may get an Oscar—but for her co-star Tom Hanks.
One indie that has been getting lots of attention is Middle of Nowhere. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Ava DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize for her second feature film. And it may be well on the way to win more awards.
And Beasts of the Southern Wild, a fantasy about a six-year-old (played by Quvenzhané Wallis) set in the Louisiana bayou, has already won at the Cannes and Sundance film festivals. There’s talk that Wallis could be nominated for an Oscar, which would make her the youngest winner ever if she took the prize. She was five in the movie and is only nine years old now.
Money is what makes these awards so critical. According to stats, when a film takes home an award, tickets sales go up, especially if the award is an Oscar. “Best Picture winners typically earn an additional $14 to $15 million in box office revenue,” reports the Business Insider. It also means more money for the actors, may see a 20 percent boost in pay for their next film if they win the award for Best Actor or Actress.
Just being nominated is a big financial win as well, especially for indies which have a limited release. After a nomination, films usually get a wider release, and more theaters equals more box office money. “During the four years from 2007 through 2010, movies that were nominated but did not win, on average, netted an additional $20 million before the awards ceremony and $5 million afterwards,” writes Business Insider. Out of the theater sales even increase as more people rent films that have received nominations or awards.
Who do you think will win?
Adequate representation of black people and culture in TV and film is a well-chronicled fight in America but most people forget why. If there’s one thing the world can stop producing right this second and still get along fine, it’s actors. So this isn’t as much about numbers as it is about impact.
It’s vital that black people are well represented in film because of the awesome power of moving pictures. The normal human brain is wired to believe what you see, above all else. For centuries, people could reliably believe what was before their eyes i.e. if you see a flying man, then men must be able to fly. But that all changed when movies were invented.
Now you’re forced to cope with images, many more vivid than actual memories, that are merely figments of a producer’s imagination. On a cognitive level, you know that you’re watching TV, and that it is not reality. But on a deeper, sensory level, your brain is processing those images as knowledge and experience, just like always.
Enter millions of Americans watching black people robbing, killing, rapping or serving on TV, all day, every day. Add that to the fact that most of them are white and it’s obvious these TV/Film watchers are going to have fcuked up knowledge and experience of black people.
Why go into all this to bring you a list of Underrated Hollywood Actors?
(A) Reminders are always helpful and (B) when minorities are lumped into a category of an industry already divided by genres and generic award systems, they end up fighting for what’s left. Too often black actors are seen as a homogeneous group rather than unique and talented professionals.
These next few actors are underrated because they forced America to cope with marvelously diverse images of black people. And that is what adequate representation in Hollywood is all about. First up:
We know quality roles are hard to come by in Hollywood. We do, we really do. For black actors, you can multiply that reality times 100. So we don’t blame the actors that made our list. They choose to hone their craft, albeit under the limited scope of their typecasted roles. Hey, some actors are so grateful for the hefty paydays that they won’t fight too hard to go outside their comfort zone. In good fun, we’ve highlighted the actors who stay faithful to their types but who we hope to see in other roles (much bigger ones) before the year is over.
We love Jenifer Lewis but she’s played the feisty black mama 10 too many times. She’s so good at being comedic and sassy that producers obviously can’t get enough of her and choose to risk using an actress whose played the same role in so many other black films and television shows. I remember her best as Toni’s mom on Girlfriends and Tina Turner’s mother on What’s Love Got To Do With It. How could she tell on Tina to Ike like that!?
by Selam Aster
One thing never, ever surprises me about the news – a headline and a few words can illicit fiery, misguided reactions. Many readers allow their assumptions to take precedence over reading a whole article and comprehending what the author is trying to convey or what the actual news story is about. That’s what happened with the Paula Patton piece I wrote for this site a couple of weeks ago. Readers had knee-jerk reactions, Clutch wrote a vehement editorial opposing it, and The Grio recently republished Clutch’s piece, further promoting the misunderstanding and misinterpretation of my thoughts.
A lot of you have asked Madame Noire to bar me from ever writing again and the majority of you didn’t get what I was trying to say at all. I will take the blame for not spending enough time in making my point more clear but I don’t take any blame for asking readers to truly consider how Blacks are portrayed in the media.
The main concern I was trying to communicate in my article about Patton is that Black producers themselves are trying to pander to white audiences by casting the most, dare I say it, bland characters in the lead and prop them up with a colorful cast. Of course, Patton is a Black woman but of all the Black talent out there, I do not think that she should be cast as the lead character in a Black film unless she can drop the whole bland, white girl act. “Sass” does not mean acting like Shananay, rolling your neck, snapping your fingers and talking street. Sass is a birthright. Sass, to me, is what defines Black speech, rhetoric and swagger. And yes, even if you talk “proper” you most likely still have some rhythm and sass. Why else can you always tell whose Black on the phone? It’s a natural affliction, but not a bad thing.
Colorism is a very sensitive topic in the Black community. I made a clear point that my criticisms of Patton had nothing to do with her complexion or even the fact that she “speaks well” but nonetheless, many commenters assumed that I did without reading the full post. I would challenge all the readers and critics to really go beyond knee-jerk reactions and be thoughtful when reading any piece of work. I’m not about attacking Black people or Black culture. If anything, I’m a true believer that we can really do better and embrace our distinct and wonderful culture while moving forward.
In any case, here are some of the most interesting, critical and illustrative reactions from around the web that I collected from the boards of Clutch, The Grio and Madame Noire.
(Daily Beast) — Zoe Saldana certainly has it all, or so it would seem. Her café au lait skin is as flawless as it is pretty, her figure is toned and slim, and the powers that be in Hollywood appear willing and ready to throw big bucks behind any project she appears in. Still there’s one thing she’s oddly lacking: a major fashion-magazine cover to accompany the release of her first solo feature film.Colombiana marks Saldana’s initial foray into the “kick A$$” female superhero role and the first time she’s carried a major film all on her own—a feat only the likes of Angelina Jolie, the grand dame of female action heroes, has been able to pull off in recent years.
by R. Asmerom
In 2005, Alison Samuels penned an article in Newsweek questioning the market for Black actresses. At the time, the movie Hitch starring Will Smith and Latina actress Eva Mendes, playing his love interest, had already hit theaters and made a killing at the box office. The question then hovering in Hollywood was if Black actresses weren’t “good enough” to play the counterparts to Black men, did they even have a future in Hollywood?
Since that time, Tyler Perry has come along, love it or hate it, providing much needed jobs to Black actresses, and another interesting phenomenon has emerged: that of the Black BFF. The Los Angeles Times picked up on the very visible trend in 2007 after many leading white actresses were paired with a Black best friend in feature films.
While the NAACP and the African-American creative community continues to lament the dearth of roles for Blacks in Hollywood, one thing is consistent and that is that Hollywood won’t prioritize diversity over their quest to perfect the money making formula.
“ I think at the end of the day, studios aren’t concerned about black and white, they are concerned about the color green,” said Janora McDuffie, an African-American actress who is currently making guest appearances on Grey’s Anatomy.
There’s no clear progress when it comes to assessing how far Black actresses have come in the past five to ten years. Although Halle Berry won the Academy Award for best actress in 2001, and others like Taraji P. Henson and Jennifer Hudson have won it since then, no Black talent was nominated for the 2011 Academy Awards.
And much of the same names that were popular then are still popular now. Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan, Zoe Saldana, Paula Patton Jennifer Hudson and of course, Halle Berry are still booking the few gigs today. “It’s improved for the sisters in the game with a name but what about the opportunities for the newcomer,” asked McDuffie. “White ingénues you’ve never heard of pop up every other month but where are those same break-out opportunities for women of color?”
(The Grio) — Taraji P. Henson received a nomination for outstanding leading actress in a mini-series or movie for her portrayal of Tiffany Rubin in Lifetime’s Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story. In the movie Henson plays a Queens, New York mother trying to rescue her seven-year-old son after he was abducted by his biological father.
In recent years it seems that Hollywood has finally started to recognize not just the amazing talent of some of today’s top Black actors, but also their bank-ability at the box office. Black male leads have started to command big bucks in the entertainment industry, and it looks as if they will only become more powerful as mainstream audiences continue showing them big love. These heavy hitters are starring in some of the silver screen’s hottest blockbusters, grabbing the most desired roles, and flexing their talents all the way to the bank. Check out the industry’s highest paid Black leading men, who are lighting up Tinseltown while happily stuffing their pockets.
The All-Round Entertainer: Jamie Foxx
This triple-threat has been on the entertainment scene for over 20 years, starting off his career as a comedian on TV shows like “Roc” and “In Living Color” in the early ’90s. Since then, Foxx has starred in several films and become a box office success, solidifying his A-List status with his 2004 Academy Award win for the lead in “Ray.” Foxx is now a strong Hollywood contender, gaining impressive salaries like the $10 million pay out he snagged for 2006′s “Miami Vice.” Jamie has also recently beat out actors Will Smith, Idris Elba, and Chris Tucker to win the coveted lead role of ‘Django’ in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Western flick, “Django Unchained.” To top it all off, this top black male actor is also an accomplished R&B singer. Foxx is worth an estimated $80 million — definitely something to sing about.
(Wall Street Journal) — The Tony Awards belonged to a foul-mouthed-but-friendly show that couldn’t put most of its lyrics on national television. As theater watchers predicted, “The Book of Mormon” dominated the 65th annual Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre on Sunday night, racking up nine awards. Honors for the edgy musical about Mormon missionaries in Uganda—written by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with “Avenue Q” creator Robert Lopez—included best musical, best book, best original score and best direction. In his acceptance speech for best direction, Mr. Parker kept it clean, shimmering in a spangled black shirt under his tuxedo jacket. He thanked the show’s audiences—”you’re going to have to atone for it,” he told them. He finished with a nod to “our co-writer who passed away, Mr. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. He couldn’t be here tonight but you did it, Joseph, you got the Tony.”