Sunday, March 7, 2010

82nd Academy Awards Make Some Black Film History (A Bits & Bites Special)

For Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, Gabourey Sidibe becomes only the eighth Black actress to receive a nod for lead actress.

For Invictus, Morgan Freeman receives his fifth acting Oscar nomination. This gives Freeman a tie with Denzel Washington as the black actors with the most acting Oscar nominations. Both Freeman and Washington also have three Oscar nominations for “Best Actor in a Leading Role,” which is the most by any black actor in the “leading role” categories.

With the “best picture” nomination Broderick Johnson receives as a co-producer of The Blind Side, he becomes only the second African-American to receive a “Best Picture” nod. Quincy Jones was the first, for The Color Purple.

The film Precious racked up six nominations and made some history. Director Lee Daniels was nominated for “best director,” becoming only the second African-American nominated in this category and the first since John Singleton for Boyz n the Hood in 1991.

Precious also earned a nomination for best adapted screenplay, which was given to Geoffry Fletcher. He is only the third African American to receive a nod in this category, and the first since Charles Fuller received a “best adapted screenplay” nomination 25 years for adapting his play for the film, A Soldier’s Story.

Precious was also nominated for best picture with nine other films. This is the first time that a film with both a predominately Black cast and a Black director was nominated for “Best Picture.” Lee Daniels becomes only the third African-American to receive a “best picture nomination” (as a co-producer of Precious). Daniels is also the first African-American to receive a “best director” nomination and a “best picture” nomination for the same film.

As a side note, actor Don Cheadle, a producer of Crash, was excluded from receiving a “best picture” nomination for that film and later an Oscar when Crash won “best picture,” because the Academy decided not to recognize his achievement due to a ruling against Cheadle by the Producers Guild of America.

For The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow is also only the fourth woman nominated for “best director” and the first since Sofia Coppola in 2003.

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards will air tonight, March 7th, hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.


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