Nearly two years ago Ricky Gervais shot a well-aimed bit of trolling the Academy’s way by tweeting, “Why did the Oscars announce all the white nominees first?” Spike Lee also took notice, saying he was boycotting the Oscars, and thereafter, twitter went crazy. The oscarssowhite# took off. Many people claimed they would boycott the awards ceremony, and the Academy was forced to go into damage control mode, vowing to make changes to their process going forward. i’ve already gone on record saying I didn’t think the Oscars were the problem, but the damage was done. My fear with that whole attack was that in the aftermath, the Academy would be so afraid of backlash , that they would begin pandering to the trolls. If the oscars becomes the people’s choice awards, it’s nothing. Let people be mad.
Well, year one in the aftermath came, and the Academy lucked out. It was an incredible year in terms of diversity and roles for black actors. Denzel, Viola Davis, Barry Jenkins, Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, and Octavia Spencer all received nominations. Davis and Ali both won in their respective categories. Moonlight won Best Picture. This year is looking rather barren. It’s still somewhat early I guess, but the Academy might be in a fix. They might even resort to nominating a horror film in Get Out, a genre of film, heretofore, widely shunned (The Shining, for example, 0 nominations). I’m fine with that-it’s the best film of the year- but if it does get nominated, you’ll know the Academy’s hand was forced. Here are their other options:
Denzel Washington (Best Actor)-Roman J Israel, Esq.
Nobody will challenge a Denzel nom. He’s one of the best actors of all-time, but this is a mediocre film. Sure, he’s great, but he always is. I don’t want to see it happen.
Jordan Peele (Best Director and Original Screenplay) Daniel Kaluuya (Best Actor)- Get Out
I’d love it to happen, and i think it will. Peele’s film is so clever, funny, scary, original, it blew many people away, and Kaluuya is perfect in the lead role.
Dee Rees (Best Director), Mary J. Blige (Best Supporting Actress), Jason Mitchell (Best Supporting Actress)-Mudbound
I haven’t seen this film, yet but word of mouth is strong. It would be interesting and a sign of the times for a film that bypassed theater release and instead opted for Netflix Streaming to get nominations.
Idris Elba (Best Supporting Actor)-Molly’s Game
I’m a fan of Elba, but much of his live action output has been subpar at best. Thankfully, Molly’s Game is getting raves. Hopefully, this culminates in him getting an Oscar nomination after being snubbed two years ago for Beasts of No Nation.
John Boyega (Best Supporting Actor)-Detroit
I’m very disappointed that I missed this film in theaters. Boyega, the young star of the new Star Wars trilogy, is said to be a longshot contender.
Outside of black performers and filmmakers, there’s hopes for Guillermo Del Toro and Kumail Nanjiani to receive some love for their work. In any case, the Academy has to prove last year wasn’t a year of appeasement, in other words a fluke. This year will be more telling.