Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seeing in Colour

I'm not going to write a review for Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire just yet because I actually missed the first ten minutes or so due to human error - my human error, I went to the wrong cinema! However, even though I missed the start I can say that it is a great movie. A flawed one, definitely - I'm thinking the screenplay is to the blame for that, not really knowing how to flow between scenes quite so easily - but a great one nonetheless. Amazing performances all around and Lee Daniels (and his casting agent) show such rich ability to find interesting faces and voices. Xosha "fluerescent beige" Roquemore being particularly memorable. And I really liked the gay representation, too. That Daniels was able to put something so subtle and nicely done into this movie shows quite a bit of promise.

I had a realisation though. When Mo'Nique wins her Oscar - because, let's face it, who's going to beat her? - the three black women to have won Oscars in these past ten years will be Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson and Mo'Nique. No matter what any hardcore fans of these ladies say, there's no denying that they were hardly the most respected thespians before their Oscar-winning roles in Monster's Ball, Dreamgirls and Precious respectively. Meanwhile, far more prestigious names such as Ruby Dee, Viola Davis, Sophie Okonedo and Taraji P Henson have gone home empty-handed. And no, Queen Latifah doesn't fit into this argument so I am ignoring her.

Does the Academy have some urge to reward the unexpected from black women? Some sort of token "good on you!" notice? And if Gabourey Sidibe wins Best Actress, too? Hmmm. A look at the black MEN to win Oscars this past decade and it's a completely different ballgame. Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Jamie Foxx portraying a famous blind singer in a middle-of-the-road biopic. You won't find anybody scratching their heads 10 years in the future at the idea of Freeman winning an Oscar. And for a Clint Eastwood movie, too. But no matter how good they are, I no doubt reckon plenty will raise an eyebrow at any of the trifecta of women up above. "Halle Berry won WHAT?!?"

This blog entry isn't leading anywhere, I just thought it particularly interesting. If you have anything to add then please do so in the comments. Do you think Mo'Nique deserves to win that Oscar despite having done nothing to previously warrant attention? Will history be kinder to the likes of Washington, Freeman and Fox simply because they had the fortune of winning for more prestigious fare, even if none of them are as good as the female winners? Hmmm...

In a completely different topic, is Mary J Blige's "I Can See in Color" played for long enough in Precious to qualify for Best Original Song? I remember hearing a brief snippet during the film, but other than that I don't remember a thing about it. Brokeback Mountain had the same issue with "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" if you recall and was wondering why nobody had mentioned this. Carry on.

1 comment:

Simon Miraudo said...

Mo'nique was great, but I don't think she deserves an Oscar. Frankly, I can think of 5 more worthy Best Supporting Actress nominees over her.

She was good (undeniable), but this was a mouth-watering part that would have garnered anyone a nomination. I'm not sure what she actually brought to it (unlike Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds, who is ALL performance).