Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sundance Repudiates #OscarsoWhite: Longest Standing Ovation for New “The Birth of a Nation”


Sundance is on fire tonight. Most of the critics are white and everyone is sensitive to the #Oscarssowhite campaign. Three years after “12 Years a Slave,” there are no black Oscar nominees.

Tonight at the Sundance Film Festival they’ve just finished watching Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation.” This is the 2016 movie about Nat Turner, the true story of a slave who led a rebellion in 1831 Virginia. This time the story is told by a black writer-director.

The original “Birth of a Nation,” made in 1915 by D.W. Griffith about the Civil War, was once considered a masterpiece; it is now shunned as racist. Times have changed.

According to accounts I’ve received, the film just got the longest sustained standing ovation of the festival. Parker, a young actor who got his start in Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters,” has been saying this was a passion project for seven years. Now it’s the hottest film at Sundance.

My spy on the scene writes: “It looked like a film made for at least three times the budget. The film was beautiful. Nate Parker got the first standing ovation I’ve ever seen before film even screened. Then huge standing ovation at the end.The film had some pretty graphic violence at times. Nate Parker said it took him 7 years to make the film. And that he put his life on the line to make it.”

Watch as this saga unfolds– given the current climate in Hollywood, this will be the Oscar movie to beat next year. Let’s see who wins the highest bid.
PS Was this film hard to make? There were 14 executive producers and 12 producers. Whew!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News