Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Black Movie Awards

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of the Black Movie Awards, which will be handed out at 10 p.m. tomorrow night on TNT (not TBS, as I originally and mistakenly posted.)

This is the second year for the BMA's, and this year they've landed a certainly charismatic host in Tyler Perry.

One gnawing question this raises for me, however, is do we really need these awards? I get the same sensation every time I hear it's black history month, women's history month or latino culture month (which, if I'm not mistaken, just recently ended; for whatever reason, it begins and ends in the middle of an actual month.) Doesn't this breaking us down into groups do more dividing than uniting? And are we really only supposed to celebrate black, women's or latino history for only one month of the year?

But enough of that. Hollywood still has a ways to go in rewarding great accomplishments in film by black people, so the BMA's get a vote of support from me.

Here are the nominees, and of course, who I would like to win:

Presley Chweneyagae (as Tsotsi) – Tsotsi
Chiwetel Ejiofor (as Lola ) – Kinky Boots
Tyrese Gibson (as O2) – Waist Deep
Cuba Gooding, Jr. (as Mikey) – Shadowboxer
Denzel Washington (as Keith Frazier) – Inside Man

I like Ejiofor quite a bit, but Kinky Boots was just too cute for my tastes. Though it came out quite some time ago, I have to go with Chweneyagae in Tsotsi for this one. It's a magnetic performance that gets burned in your brain.

Mos Def (as Eddie Bunker) – 16 Blocks
Laurence Fishburne (as Dr. Larabee) – Akeelah & the Bee
Jamie Foxx (as Staff Sgt. Sykes) – Jarhead
Hubert Koundé (as Arnold Bluhm) – The Constant Gardener
Jeffrey Wright (as Bennett Holiday) – Syriana

I like every actor in this category, but simply detested both 16 Blocks and Syriana. It comes down to a choice between Fishburne and Koundé in this one for me, and I'll give it to Koundé by a nose.

Halle Berry (as Ororo Munro/Storm) – X-Men: The Last Stand
Meagan Good (as Coco) – Waist Deep )
Sanaa Lathan (as Kenya McQueen) – Something New
Queen Latifah (as Georgia Byrd) – Last Holiday
Keke Palmer (as Akeelah) – Akeelah & the Bee

This one is a no-brainer for me. Young Keke Palmer was tremendous in Akeelah, one of the movies that most surprised me this year, and I think you will be hearing her name on Oscar night too.

Angela Bassett (as Tanya Anderson) – Akeelah & the Bee
Rosario Dawson (as Mimi Marquez) – Rent
Lauren London (as New New) – ATL
Lynn Whitfi eld (as Victoria) – Madea’s Family Reunion
Alfre Woodard (as Joyce McQueen) – Something New

I'm gonna just skip over whether Dawson is black or hispanic, and how the female lead of the atrocious ATL is considered a supporting actress, and just give this one to Angela Bassett, who held her own with young Ms. Palmer in Akeelah.

Tina Gordon Chism – ATL
Rob Hardy – The Gospel
Tyler Perry – Madea’s Family Reunion
Kriss Turner – Something New
Norman Vance, Jr. – Roll Bounce

Three solid offerings here, but I'll have to pick Vance for Roll Bounce in this category. I just loved that flick, and his script gave it a solid sense of time and place.

Vondie Curtis-Hall – Waist Deep
Malcolm D. Lee – Roll Bounce
Spike Lee – Inside Man
Chris Robinson – ATL
John Singleton – Four Brothers

This one just bugs me. I just have to assume that Akeelah and the Bee is not on this list simply because its director, Doug Atchison, is white (and ditto for Tsotsi). Whatever the reason, what you get is Akeelah nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture but without a nomination for its director, which also happens a lot at the Oscars. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Roll Bounce, so the other Mr. Lee gets my vote.

Akeelah & the Bee
Four Brothers
Inside Man
Madea’s Family Reunion

Though I get the feeling Tyler Perry as host will make this one a big win for Madea's Family Reunion, I would vote for Akeelah and the Bee by a nose over Tsotsi. It's just that rare breed of family film that's at least as entertaining as it is instructive.

But no matter who wins, with Perry on hand, it should be a lively and entertaining night. I urge everyone to tune in, if for only a few minutes, and to sound off with your picks.


Anonymous said...

Boy, you been livin' in the south too long. Of course we need reasons to celebrate different cultures and people! We are not all the same--we worship differently, love differently and have stories that are completely unique to us. If we bought into the conservative, "doesn't it just serve to divide us" argument, then we would be conceding that only a certain group gets to write our history (as they have done for many, many years). Up here in the liberal Pacific Northwest, we have a Polish film festival, a black film festival, a Portugese film festival, a Korean film festival, a gay and lesbian film festival, and at least a dozen more (as well as the world's largest film festival). We don't look at them as vehicles to segregate and ignore; we look at them as opportunities to celebrate and connect. Sure, in a perfect world we wouldn't have to dedicate a month or week or whatever to a race or gender, but, if you haven't noticed, our world is far from perfect.

As for your choices - I agree whole heartedly with all of them except Fishbourne, and I'm going w/ your second choice--Kounde.

Happy hump day!

Tyler Durden said...

Ejiofor is a Gem. Although I haven't seen much of his British works, I really liked him in Inside Man and Serenity.

Cuba Gooding has become a benchmark for what an Oscar Winner shouldn't become. (Foxx would have gone that way with Stealth, but I guess he is recovering).

By the way, has "The Prestige" opened yet ?? RottenTomatoes has a 50% rating on (4-4) and that's not what I expected :-O.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm with you completely on the festivals, Jeremy ... It's mainly the calendar months that raise my eyebrows a bit each time they come around

The Prestige opens wide this Friday, Mr. Durden ... I haven't seen too many reviews yet, but the one we're running in the Telegraph only gave it two stars

marina said...

Jeremy: "a Portugese film festival"???? OMG. I need to do some reseach...

As for these specific awards, I can't say I've seen most of the films on the list but I whole heartedly agree: Akeelah & the Bee is a great little film!

Divinity said...

I thought Tsotsi was an amazing film and the more kudos it garners, the better. Inside Man was pretty bland in content and construction. Didn't see Akeelah and the Bee yet (although the local Starbucks was handing out free copies at one point, I believe).
Kinky Boots may have been cute but I thought Chewie's performance in it was pretty bold.
It'll be interesting to see how "political" these awards turn out to be.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm glad someone else beside me found Inside Man to be a hollow shell, Divinity ... There aren't too many Spike Lee movies that I flat out don't like, but that is definitely one of them!

scribbit said...

I've heard a lot of good things about Akeelah, maybe I'll put that up on my Netflix queue.

JosephintheBracknell said...

Are these awards for films that show a black screen for their entirety?