Hello, Hollywood. It’s 2013. When the Academy Awards are given out on March 2, 2014, you are going to have six– or more acting nominees who are all black. This isn’t just Halle and Denzel (2002) or Forest and Don Cheadle, or Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. Or M’Onique. These are at least three Best Actor nominees and three Best Supporting actresses. Maybe four.
This is going to be a welcome, all too long in the making change for the culture of Hollywood. But it’s about freaking time. I’m already hearing some negative things coming from at least one awards group (you can only imagine). I say, who cares? And if they dare not nominate these people, that awards group will come in for some very heavy criticism.
But here it is: there is simply no way that Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, and Forest Whitaker won’t be nominated for “12 Years a Slave,” “Mandela,” and “The Butler.” It’s as simple as that. A fourth choice would be Michael B. Jordan for “Fruitvale Station.”
For supporting actress we have Oprah Winfrey in “The Butler,” Octavia Spencer in “Fruitvale Station,” and Lupita Nyong’o from “12 Years a Slave.” Noemie Harris is a strong contender from “Mandela.”
On top of that Best Picture nominees would likely include “12 Years,” “Mandela,” “The Butler,” “Fruitvale Station.”
I don’t want to hear anyone say this Oscar season: “We already have one black film.” Or “We have two black best actor nominees. That’s enough.”
This is a year of sea change. We can feel it here in Toronto. It could not be better news.