“12 Years a Slave” is best picture, black actors, director, snubbed

 

"!2 Years a Slave" Director Steve McQueen with the film's stars and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

“12 Years a Slave” Director Steve McQueen with the film’s stars Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

By Carmen Glover

The announcement that “12 Years a Slave,” which was nominated for seven Golden Globes, deservedly won the Best Picture of 2013 at the awards event Sunday night, took an extremely long time to be made. The big revelation was made at the end of the show after black actors were snubbed in all the other categories in which they were nominated. In a cruel twist, Steve McQueen, the film’s director, was overlooked in the Best Director category to the extent that he was clearly stunned when his film won the top award.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in “12 Years a Slave,” but was snubbed for a Best Actor award by the Golden Globes.

“Little bit in shock,” he said as he stood on stage with the film’s cast, gazing at the award. After thanking the actors, he thanked “Brad Pitt, without whom the film would not have been made.” It was surreal watching the broadcast of the Golden Globes as black actors and movies were ignored time and again, despite the stellar performances the actors gave in the movies that epitomized the best of their craft.

Idris Elba, who convincingly portrayed late South African leader Nelson Mandela in the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," was snubbed at the Golden Globe Awards.

Idris Elba, who convincingly portrayed late South African leader Nelson Mandela in the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” was snubbed for a Best Actor award by the Golden Globes.

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” won a nominal recognition by way of U2’s Bono, who won Best Score for his song “Ordinary Love,” but the film’s star, Idris Elba, who portrayed late South African leader Nelson Mandela with such grace and sophistication, was overlooked for his solid depiction.

Lupita Nyong'o  was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "12 Years a Slave."

Lupita Nyong’o was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave,” but went home empty-handed at the awards event.

Actors appearing in television series fared no better, with Kerry Washington “Scandal” and Don Cheadle “House of Lies,” both being shut out despite great performances.

It is at times like these when the significance of the NAACP’s Image Awards shines with relevance. The NAACP Image Awards proudly celebrates the work of black actors, showering them with the accolades and respect that they have strongly earned but which they rarely get from their peers. It is important for the mainstream award programs to realize that nominating black performers, only to ignore their talents when it’s time to hand out the awards, is simply unacceptable. It is a slap in the face of professionals who give their all to their work and who deserve to be recognized for the high quality of their work rather than be overlooked because of their skin color. –OnPointPress.net

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Golden Globes nominations for Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o

Idris Elba in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom."

Idris Elba authentic performance in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actor Category.

By Carmen Glover

Movies depicting the nuanced and diverse range of the black experience have been released in record numbers in theaters this year, making 2013 a great year for blacks in film. The announcement by the Golden Globes that two dramatic actors, Idris Elba (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”) in theaters Christmas Day and Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave,” will compete in the category of best actor comes as no surprise. In fact, it would have been unsurprising if that category had been dominated by black actors, including Michael B. Jordan, “Fruitvale Station;” Forest Whitaker, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Black Nativity;” and Chadwick Boseman in “42: The True Story of an American Legend,” for his moving portrayal as baseball great Jackie Robinson.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in “12 Years a Slave” for which he was nominated for Best Actor by the Golden Globes.

“12 Years a Slave” tied with “American Hustle” in receiving 7 nominations each. The movie was nominated for best actor, director, film in drama, supporting actor, supporting actress, screenplay and score. The nominations were announced yesterday by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The Golden Globes are often seen as precursors to the Oscar, as far as the films most likely to be honored. The Golden Globes will air on January 12, 2014.

Lupita Nyong'o  was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "12 Years a Slave."

Lupita Nyong’o was nominated by the Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave.”

Michael B. Jordan in "Fruitvale Station."

Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station.”

Although Elba and Ejiofor were nominated in the dramatic category, black actors were ignored in the comedic category, despite the strong performances by the actors in the popular romantic comedy “Best Man Holiday.” And for reasons known only to the Globes’ selection committee, black women were snubbed for their film portrayals in the major categories. The exception was Lupita Nyong’o, who was nominated in the supporting actor category for her stellar performance in “12 Years a Slave.” Also, Kerry Washington snagged a nomination for her fierce depiction of Washington fixer Olivia Pope in the television drama Scandal.

Chadwick Boseman in "42."

Chadwick Boseman in “42.”

Among the noteworthy films that showcased the diversity of the black experience this year are: “Temptation,” directed by Tyler Perry and starring Journee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross and Vanessa Williams; “2 Guns,” with Denzel Washington and Paula Patton; “White House Down,” with Jamie Foxx; “Olympus Has Fallen,” with Morgan Freeman and Angela Bassett, directed by Antoine Fuqua; “The Call,’ with Halle Berry; “Las Vegas,” with Morgan Freeman; “Now You See Me,” with Common; and several movies starring Dwayne “The Rock Johnson,” including “Snitch” and “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

Forest Whitaker and Oprah in "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

Forest Whitaker and Oprah in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

Halle Berry stars in The Call, a WWE Studios movie released in theaters in March, 2013 and on DVD in July, 2013.

Halle Berry stars in The Call, a WWE Studios movie released in theaters in March, 2013 and on DVD in July, 2013.

One aspect of the range illuminated by the plethora of black films that hit the theaters this year is the opportunity the trend allowed for the pantheon of directors and producers to expand their reach and shine. Validation for the risks taken by directors and producers were evident in box office receipts with many films far exceeding expectations. Moviegoers flocked to the theaters in droves, eager to reunite with characters who seemed like old friends (“The Best Man Holiday.”) or simply to gain exposure to a different take on slavery in Steve McQueen’s masterful direction of “12 Years a Slave.”

The cast of The Best Man Holiday.

The cast of The Best Man Holiday.

 

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in "Snitch."

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “Snitch.”

As the wait for the Oscar nomination continues, expectations are high that more black actors and actresses will be recognized for stellar performances that filled theaters from the year began. That trend is expected to surge when British heart-throb Elba’s stirring performance in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” is made available to an expanded audience base on Christmas Day, when the movie opens in wide release. —OnPointPress.net.

British-Caribbean director brings “12 Years a Slave” to the big screen, Oscar buzz swirls for the film’s actors

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid Oscar-worthy performance in “12 Years a Slave.”

By  Carmen Glover

Solomon Northup (depicted by actor Chiwetel Ejiofor) strides briskly across the well-manicured lawn and is approached by two sharply-dressed men. They greet him pleasantly and offer him a gig, playing the violin, if he agrees to meet up with them later that evening for dinner. Northup agrees and by the time he realizes the earth-shattering mistake he made in judgment, it is too late and his freedom is stolen in an instant. He is robbed of his identify and ends up in slavery for 12 years while trying desperately to win his freedom so that he can rejoin his family and enjoy the comfortable life he used to lead as an outstanding musician.

Scene from the movie

Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) walks with his family before horrendous turn of events disrupt their lives.

“12 Years a Slave,” based on Northup’s harrowing experiences in slavery,  was told in his 1853 memoir, only to be brought to life by a black director with Caribbean and British roots.  “I realized that the story needed to be told,” Director Steve McQueen said at a screening of the movie this past summer in Orlando for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). At the screening, McQueen shared the stage with actresses Alfre Woodard and  Lupita Nyong’o, who both star in the movie. “Brad Pitt became involved in the project,” McQueen explained, resulting in necessary support for the film to make it to the big screen.

Scenes from the plantation

Scene from the plantation

It is unimaginable for some people to consider any scenario which could trap them into slavery in today’s society. However, in “12 Years a Slave,” Northup’s vulnerability and trusting nature are exploited violently, eviscerating his dignity, lifestyle and sense of security. Ejiofior envelopes the character, possessing it completely, resulting in a poignant, raw and powerful depiction of a reality that is painful to witness but too mesmerizing to ignore.

Actresses Lupita Nyong'o  Alfre Woodard and director Steve McQueen discuss the movie at NABJ Convention in Orlando, Florida.

Actresses Lupita Nyong’o , Alfre Woodard and director Steve McQueen discuss the movie at NABJ Convention in Orlando, Florida.

“12 Years a Slave” opens in limited release today, expanded release on October 25, and in wide release November 1. Don’t miss an insightful, compelling story that is bound to ignite a myriad of emotions while at the same time, awaken a desire to learn more about other tales that are yearning to be told.  OnPointPress.Net.