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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Black actresses and the Oscars

I'm sorry that I'm not jumping up and down about the Oscar nominations of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. 
It has nothing to do with their work. Both are great actresses--however it's 2012 and black actresses still only get acknowledged for playing maids, victims, whores and singing in musicals. 


The last time a black actress won an Oscar was in 2001. Halle Berry for her role in Monster's Ball.
A role that was basically a white man's whore. 


I posted my thoughts on black actresses and the Oscars on Facebook, stating:
Black actresses get awards for playing maids, whores and victims. Or singing. #thatsall
The responses from people on my page ranged from, "that's right" to "fuck the past."
Yeah, Fuck the past. But the second highest grossing film last weekend was about the past. What is really disturbing about these comments is that black filmgoers complain about the images we see on the screen, yet when a black actor or actress is nominated, we're supposed to be excited?
No.
I have my issues with The Help -- the movie and the book -- because in the 1960s, black women were not speaking as if they were African slaves. And with the book, what black person would compare themselves to a cockroach?
So, why would I jump up and down for these nominations? And yes, I'm still salty as hell that Denzel lost to Al Pacino. I mean, really, if Denzel didn't deserve an Academy Award for Malcolm X, then the sun shouldn't shine.
So, on Oscar night, I will be watching Malcolm X, again.

1 comment:

bettye griffin said...

Good point, Cheris! Although I didn't think Halle Berry's role was a "white man's whore"--if I remember correctly, they both genuinely cared about each other--but I didn't really think it was an Oscar-worthy performance, simply because it didn't seem fleshed out all that much. But the Oscars aren't given for the best performance; too many other factors are involved. That's why Denzel lost the Oscar to Al back in 1992: Al had lost the Oscar he deserved for The Godfather Part II to someone else, and that's why he got it for Scent of a Woman. Even Denzel's own Oscar for Training Day wasn't his best performance, in my opinion.