February 24, 2012 |
The Associated Press predicts Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are odds-on favorites to win Academy Awards for best actress and supporting actress, respectively, for their stellar performances in the 1960s ensemble melodrama The Help . I'll tune in Sunday to see whether these two immensely talented, albeit underworked, actresses can pull off a one-two punch. If they win, well, nothing could be finer. Davis' portrayal of noble Aibileen and Spencer's of feisty Minny, friends and domestics who expose their white employers at great risk in the racist South, were certainly worthy of Oscar nods.
August 11, 2011 |
Accepting an award at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony in 2009, Meryl Streep effusively thanked her costars in Doubt . She singled out "The gigantically gifted Viola Davis - my God, somebody give her a movie!" Somebody did. It's called The Help . In this reassuring movie about anxious times, Davis is Aibileen, a domestic in 1962 Mississippi who is done being stoic about life in the Jim Crow South. She takes the false smile from her face and sweeps it into the dustpan, opening up to a white girl (Emma Stone)
November 21, 2010 |
New! Improved! Crankier? The fifth edition of David Thomson's invaluable and occasionally maddening The New Biographical Dictionary of Film is out (Alfred A. Knopf, $40), with 100 new entries ( Judd Apatow , Emily Blunt , Paul Haggis, Mark Wahlberg ) and many more that have been updated and, in some instances, radically revised. Writing with authority and flair and no reluctance to express a contrarian view, Thomson uses his entry on Whoopi Goldberg to analyze why there are so few black women listed in his book (going way back to Hattie McDaniel and Gone With the Wind to mull things over)
November 9, 2010
SEVENTY years after Hattie McDaniel became the first black woman to receive an Oscar (for her role as a maid in "Gone With the Wind"), it's incredible that there is still only a very small pool of juicy movie roles for black actresses. And what's with all of the sad stories that we always seem to portray, when there are also plenty of normal and happy black women to show on the big screen? I was reminded of that sad truth on a "girlfriends night out" to see Tyler Perry's latest - "For Colored Girls.
March 7, 2010 |
Tonight at the Academy Awards it's a safe bet that Mo'Nique, the comedian and host of a BET talk show, will collect a supporting-actress statuette for her role in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. In Mary Jones, an abused and criminally abusive mother visiting the humiliations she has endured upon her own child, Mo'Nique creates perhaps the most frightening screen monster since Hannibal Lecter. While almost everyone agrees that a prize for Mo'Nique is richly deserved, her prospective triumph does not represent a feel-good win for many African Americans.
February 2, 2010 |
Kathryn Bigelow made history Saturday when the director of The Hurt Locker, a tale of risk junkies defusing improvised explosive devices in Iraq, became the first woman to receive top honors from the Directors Guild of America (DGA). Prospects are good that she'll make history once again on March 7 at the Oscars. In a battle-of-the-exes twist, Bigelow could take the prize over former spouse James Cameron, whose Avatar is the top-grossing movie of all time. She's a lock for an Academy Award nomination (which will be announced this morning)
November 13, 2002 |
Lupe Ontiveros orders a beer. "I want to relax," she says, sinking into the plush upholstery of the Four Seasons Hotel's Fountain restaurant. Eighteen-year-old America Ferrera scans the upscale lunch menu and sighs. "I'm just going to have a salad because I want to get a cheesesteak on the way out of town," she says, almost apologetically. Here they are, two generations of Latina actresses, enjoying the unexpected embrace of audiences and critics for their independent film Real Women Have Curves, winner of this year's Sundance Film Festival audience award for a dramatic work.
October 29, 2000 |
There are pillow fights and there is pillow talk, and Will Smith says that the latter prevailed when he signed on as the manservant caddy in The Legend of Bagger Vance and when wife Jada Pinkett-Smith took the part of a TV exec battling racial stereotyping in Spike Lee's Bamboozled. "Any roles we take, we take together," Smith explains, smooth as sable and twice as warm. So smooth, in fact, he could sell sable coats to PETA members. Some see the mystical Bagger Vance, who helps golfer Matt Damon find his swing in the movie opening Friday, as a cross between Yoda and Hattie McDaniel, but the Smiths see something else.
October 20, 2000 |
When her brothers and sisters criticized actress Hattie McDaniel, best known as Mammy in Gone With the Wind, for accepting screen roles that demeaned blacks, she retorted pragmatically, "Better to play a maid than be a maid. " Bamboozled, Spike Lee's scorching surrealist satire about African American stereotypes on TV, challenges the McDaniel Doctrine with Lee's Law: Worse to accept the degrading stereotype than to be unemployed. Damon Wayans stars as Pierre Delacroix, a Harvard-educated TV writer, the token black at a struggling network, himself struggling to get his concepts produced.
October 29, 1998 |
A disturbing Irish tale and a wicked look at office politics top this week's list of new movies on video. The Butcher Boy 1/2 (1998) (Warner) 80 minutes. Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw, Alan Boyle, Aisling O'Sullivan, Sinead O'Connor. Neil Jordan's daring, disquieting adaptation of the Patrick McCabe novel ventures inside the head of a small-town Irish lad rocked by family tragedy and lost in his own mad fantasies. Crazy with energy and shot in hallucinogenic colors, the film features O'Connor as the Virgin Mary, come down to the peat fields to console the film's lost, rampaging protagonist.