Tag Archives: Oscars

5 of the Top Moments from Oscars 2016

1. Chris Rock made everyone uncomfortable, and rightly so. 

giphy (28)

For a full month, I was on the edge of my seat waiting on what Rock would have to say, and I wasn’t disappointed. Rock is known for going for the jugular, and during the Oscars, he not only went for the jugular, but he went for all the major arteries in Hollywood’s body with glee. He made fun of everything, including Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith just being mad because Will Smith wasn’t up for Concussion (remember how Pinkett Smith started the boycott talk?) and the Oscars itself, calling it the “White People’s Choice Awards.”

Rock was put in a very difficult position to post the awards show in the midst of controversy, but he seemed more than up to the task. Even with all of the insults and jabs he leveled at Hollywood and those in the audience, I have a feeling we saw Rock holding back. If he really wanted to make people mad with the truth, he’d know exactly how to do it. But coming on stage with Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” playing in the background, telling a room full of the Hollywood elite that Hollywood is undoubtedly racist, showing a video of black people outside a Compton movie theater talking about film inequalities, and introducing Michael B. Jordan as someone who should have been nominated are all great ways to make people uncomfortable. What I wonder is how many of the “liberal” folks in the audience thought Rock wasn’t talking about them, despite him clearly saying he was addressing the “liberals” of Hollywood. That’s the unspoken joke of the night.

There were three moments in Rock’s time as host that made my jaw drop on the floor:

  1. During the Black History Moment taped segment with Angela Bassett, I could have sworn that the joke was setting up towards another elaborate jab at Will Smith. Maybe I was reading too much into the joke, but with the set up (and the choice of films, like Shark Tale), I was so sure a takedown of Smith’s career was coming, especially in light of what Rock had said about them in the monologue. The joke actually was making fun of Jack Black being in a lot of Will Smith movies, which led me to breathe out a sigh of relief.
  2. How did Rock and co. get Stacey Dash to play a part in her own takedown? Did she know what the joke was? Did she know she was the joke? In any event, I was floored. The Weeknd’s face told the story. giphy (29)
  3. The taped segment in which Rock, Whoopi Goldberg, and others showed how tough it is for black actors to get parts. The takedown of Joy was my particular favorite.

Could more have been said about all minorities who are marginalized in the industry? Certainly. There was only one guy all night who talked about how the Oscar should belong to everyone, and it was one of the guys outside of the Compton theater. Some folks were getting on Rock for not discussing the plight of all minorities in Hollywood. I’ll say that for myself, I recognized how I would have handled the situation, which is talk about how all people who are not part of white Hollywood are blocked out of all of Hollywood’s creative process, but am not Chris Rock. Rock handled it from his perspective, and his perspective is just what he presented last night—the black American experience. Would it have been nice if a bone was thrown to everyone affected? Yes. The Native cast members of The Revenant, Byung-hun Lee, Sofia Vergara, and many of the other non-black POC presenters don’t have the same opportunities either, some less so. Could his monologue have wrongly cemented it in people’s minds that #OscarsSoWhite is only about black people? It most certainly could have. With that said, I still think Rock’s hosting duties accomplished what it needed to, which is to shame the Academy on its biggest night.

2. The tonal shifts of the Oscars.

giphy (30)

Between Rock laying it on thick about Hollywood’s “sorority racist” mode of business and other presenters like Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman looking like they’d rather be anywhere else during certain points of the night, the rest of the presenters pretended to be cautious and/or unaware as they presented awards that, overall, only showed how white the Oscars actually are.

Even more uncomfortable were the additions of scores of non-white presenters. One reason I keep mentioning Jordan is that he should have been nominated. Heck, a lot of the presenters should have been nominated, like Abraham Attah for Beasts of No Nation. I say more presenters should have looked upset. In any event, the night was clearly an uncomfortable one for most people in attendance (and for most people in attendance, deservedly so).

3. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs doubles down on diversity, asks room to do the same

giphy (31)

I did like Boone Isaacs’ speech about the Academy’s pledge to do better, and I especially liked that she asked others in the audience to do the same. The actors are routinely forgotten about facilitators in Hollywood’s game, but on some level, they share culpability for continuing Hollywood’s mode of business. They themselves could change how films are made just by refusing to take on certain roles. For instance, if an actor or actress gets a role to play a traditionally Asian or Mexican character, they could decide not to take it in the hopes that it’ll actually go to an actor or actress that properly fits the bill.

4. Lady Gaga reminded us that it really is on us. 

giphy (32)

I think the most powerful song of the night was definitely Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til It Happens to You” for the documentary The Hunting Ground. Gaga’s emotional performance, coupled with the on-stage appearances of many victims of sexual assault and rape, really drove home the point of V.P. Biden’s speech beforehand; it’s truly on us to stop others from becoming sexual assault victims.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio finally gets his Oscar!

giphy (33)

Everyone, including the Best Actor nominees, stood up in applause for DiCaprio’s win. It was a win that has taken many years to earn, but he finally did it. He also gave us yet another great speech, in which he outlines how important it is for us to address climate change.

What did you think of the night? What were your favorite moments? Which moments didn’t you like? (Ali G. is on my list.) Write about it in the comments section!

EDIT: I did forget to mention the joke about the little Asian kid accountants. That joke really fell flat to me because 1) I didn’t get it and 2) what was the message, if there was one? In any case, it, along with Sacha Baron Cohen-as-Ali G’s joke comparing the Minions to Asian people were low points of the night.

The All Def Movie Awards Helps Flint, Michigan (+ Photos)

You’ve probably been hearing about the All Def Movie Awards. The event, which will air via Fusion and sponsored by Fusion, CROSS Pens, ADD, Ciroc, and Celsius, has been thought of as an answer to the Oscars, but it aims to be much more than that; it hopes to acknowledge and honor the talent Hollywood as in industry routinely neglects.

“The All Def Movie Awards are meant to fill a generational and cultural void — just as the MTV Movie Awards did,” said Sanjay Sharma, President and CEO of ADD. “FUSION is the perfect partner to celebrate the uncelebrated, and use comedy to encourage honest dialogue and action.”

The All Def Movie Awards celebrate the year’s best films in categories that are both traditional and light-hearted. Members of the public voted on two categories, which included Best Picture contenders BEASTS OF NO NATION, CHI-RAQ, CONCUSSION, CREED, DOPE and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. Other awards during the show will honor Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director as well as Best Bad Muh F**ka and other often overlooked categories, such as Best Helpful White Person and Best Black Survivor in a Movie. Legendary actor and recording artist Will Smith will be recognized with the ADMA’s first Lifetime Achievement Award, and writer, producer, director and social activist Norman Lear will receive the Vanguard Award for his enduring contributions to entertainment that helped foster an essential dialogue about race and race relations. Tony Rock hosts the special which features celebrity guests including Tyrese Gibson, Nick Cannon, Terry Crews, Marlon Wayans, Vivica A. Fox, King Bach, Sannaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Robert Townsend, Bill Duke, Gary Owen, and Jerrod Carmichael, among others.

The event recently wrapped up, and the first images from the black carpet and backstage have been released!

Celebrities, including Michael Ealy, Robin Thicke, Tony Rock, Robert Townsend, Russell Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Amber Rose, Marlon Wayans, Ice Cube, JB Smoove, Nick Cannon, Michael Yo, Tyrese Gibson, Mike Epps stopped to Make their Mark with CROSS Pens by signing a commemorative poster. The poster will be auctioned to raise funds for #FlintKids, which is supporting the children and families affected by Flint, Michigan’s water crisis.

Here’s more about CROSS Pens:

CROSS has always championed the pursuit of greatness. From the spark that inspires a passion. To the hard work and creativity needed to make it happen. It takes courage and a lot of heart, but those who take this path are the ones who make their mark on this world.

The story of the CROSS brand begins in 1846 when artisan Richard Cross, in partnership with his son Alonzo Townsend Cross revolutionized fine writing instruments. Their early mark of entrepreneurial excellence included tools refined through more than 100 patents and accented by the spoils of the California gold rush. Still positioned to set the bar for what it means to symbolize achievement, human potential and usable luxury, CROSS seeks to provide those possessing extraordinary vision and a strong entrepreneurial spirit with the tools needed to make their mark. How do you #MAKEYOURS?

The All Def Move Awards will air this Sunday (Feb. 28) at 7 p.m. on Fusion.

Photo credit: Brady Willis

 

 

Win a Year-Long Subscription to MoviePass with the #OscarsWithMoviePass Contest

The Oscars. It’s been talked about on this site a lot. But, if you still plan on watching the Oscars and checking your prediction sheet, then make that sheet work for you! Through MoviePass’ #OscarsWithMoviePass contest, your predictions could win you a full year of the MoviePass service.

What’s MoviePass? It’s a movie subscription service that allows users to order tickets and watch movies at most of the country’s major theaters. The subscription service works through the usage of the MoviePass card and the MoviePass app. The app shows you what movies are playing each day. Choose your movie through the app, and use the card at the theater’s ticket kiosk or box office to receive your tickets. For instance, with the MoviePass card, you could go see Race (which could be an Oscars 2017 contender) right now without any hassle!

To quote MoviePass:

MoviePass is the only nationwide movie theater subscription service, allowing members to see a new, standard 2D movie every day in 95% of theaters nationwide for one monthly fee. There are no blackout dates like with some discounted ticket programs, so as soon as a movie hits the theaters, you can see it with MoviePass.

How to enter: pick your guesses as to who and what will win top Oscar honors by filling out MoviePass’s #OscarsWithMoviePass ballot. The person with the most matches will win the free year subscription, and a runner-up will receive six months of MoviePass service. You can enter until 3 p.m. EST Feb. 28. The winners will be announced on or before March 4.

Good luck!

#OscarsSoWhite Dominates Oscar Nomination Talk

The Oscar nominations have been released, and the talk isn’t about who people want to win, but about why the list of nominees aren’t more diverse. This makes the second year that #OscarsSoWhite has dominated the social media and real world discussions about the highest honor in film, but this year is just one of many in which white stories and white actors and directors have been chosen over equally-as-talented minority actors and directors. Personally speaking, some of the domestic projects I’m rooting for are SpotlightSanjay’s Super Team, What Happened, Miss Simone?, CarolThe Danish Girl, and The Revenant, since they are the only stories featuring diversity of any sort and/or tell stories that need more in-depth coverage. (By the term “domestic,” I’m not including foreign films.)

The big question lots of people are having is why the nominations are still just as homogeneous in the acting categories as they were last year? At the very least, Alejandro González Iñárritu was nominated for Best Director. Some people are probably feeling like no one is listening to their cries for more diversity in films, especially since 2015 itself wasn’t that diverse of a film year to begin with; the biggest films featuring racial diversity were indie films, like Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl and Dope, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominated the end of 2015 so hard, to the point that it seemed like 2015 was more diverse than it actually was. Also, films like Carol, Tangerine, and The Danish Girl were about the only films of the year featuring LGBT stories. Yet, Tangerine, which featured transgender characters of color, was overlooked for Carol and The Danish Girl, which feature white lesbian or transgender characters.

The answer about the nominations issue comes in the form of time. There simply hasn’t been enough time for the changes the current Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, have implemented to really be effective. The Hollywood Reporter called the Academy’s recruitment of more members from diverse backgrounds as “Phase one,” stating that “phase two” needs to be in effect, if it’s not already. “Now campaigners must ask: Do these freshman members change the nature of the game? The answer is yes, though the full effects of change won’t be felt for a few more years, as even more new members replace the old,” wrote Stephen Galloway for the site. “…Some insiders argue that the apparent diversity isn’t as widespread as it seems, and that the bulk of new members are entrenched in the Hollywood establishment. They’re right—this is still a relatively small contingent. Diversity is starting to happen, but it’s slow and its effects may not be felt fully for several years to come, or until the industry itself is more diverse.”

CHRIS ROCK

The old guard in the Academy could be considered part of the problem; the nominations list includes nominations for the screenwriting team of Straight Outta Compton, Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus; however, the screenwriting team is white, while the rest of the Straight Outta Compton crew, including director F. Gary Gray, weren’t nominated for the same movie. In case you haven’t guessed, F. Gary Gray is black, as are the actors in the film. Also, the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation wasn’t nominated at all, despite the star talent of Idris Elba, young actor Abraham Attah, and the direction of Cary Fukunaga. Ditto for Concussion, starring Will Smith, whose role in the film is tailor-made for Oscar nominations. Ditto again for Creed, which starred Micahel B. Jordan and was directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler, but only Sylvester Stallone was nominated for an award.

The other part of the problem is, of course, that it’s an industry-wide problem. Tambay A. Obenson wrote for Shadow and Act that people’s anger shouldn’t be with the Academy at all. “I continue to argue that our ire should not be with the Academy, but instead with the studio heads and financiers who decide what films are made. Until the playing field is leveled, this disparity between the volume, variety and quality of films made by/about white people and those made by/about people of color, will extend its run, uninterrupted.” One way he illustrated his point earlier in the article is when he discussed the Straight Outta Compton snub and wondering if Gray, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Will Packer, producers of the film, had any say over who would get to write the film.

Want to read more about diversity in film and television? Read the inaugural issue of COLOR BLOCK Magazine!

However, one observation is the Academy’s old guard and the perpetrators of industry-wide problems are hand-in-hand, since quite a few of the perpetrators are a part of the Academy. Right now, the Academy—and the Hollywood industry itself–are in a vicious circle, feeding each other BS while the the public demands something new. However, there’s something to be said when the Academy president herself is speaking out against the nominations. “Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated],” Isaacs told Yahoo’s Pete Hammond. “This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board. You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it.” When discussing the problems with a lack of diverse nominations, Isaacs said, “We have got to speed it up,” saying that the Academy’s efforts to recruit and focus on diverse films is happening at too slow a pace.

The changes are happening, but at a glacial pace. But as Obenson wrote, it would behoove us to support indie films that do showcase diversity as well studios and companies focusing primarily on diverse filmmaking like Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY and Charles D. King’s MACRO Ventures, both of which put out statements today:

Here’s what I had to say about the Oscar nominations on Twitter:

The irony of all of this is that Chris Rock is going to host the Oscars this year. I wonder what his jokes will be like.

What did you think about the nominations? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

"Selma": David Oyelowo States Academy Awards More for "Subservient" Black Roles

David Oyelowo is proving why I made him an MOC Monday post. This guy not only knows when to help folks who’ve made mistakes (i.e. his buddy, Benedict Cumberbatch), but also when to hold people to task for racially-charged selective memories. Today, Oyelowo took the Academy to task for their penchant for only awarding black actors who take on “subservient” roles.