This year in film can be described as “The Year of Why Not?” Why not make a black superhero film? Why not hire a diverse team in front of and behind the camera? Why not take a pop icon and push her out of her comfort zone to be a movie actress? Why not tell the story of a musical genius that lived life on his own terms? Why not tell the ugly history of America in a way that makes people squirm or laugh at the absurdity? Why not tell the story of a woman that holds the place on society as an invisible prop? Why not take your first acting role while you are waiting for preschool certification results? Why not make a movie about the taboo topic of menstruation? Why not go without a host? The answer to each question is what made this year in film historic, beautiful, and rich with performances that will go down in the cinematic history. The Oscars were fantastic until…. a movie about driving someone took home the Oscar for Best Picture.
“I’m snakebit. I mean, every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose.” – Spike Lee
I’ll start off with the good news of the night
-“Black Panther” got well deserved wins for original score, production design and costume design. After I watched Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga perfom live during the ceremony, I knew instantly they would get Best Song over “All the Stars”. “Black Panther” has hit records for the past year including surpassing the $1 billion mark at the global box office, being the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Film and closing out the year with Ruth Carter being the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design. This film is nothing short of historic.
– We predicted Olivia Colman, Rami Malek and Regina King would be recognized for their outstanding performances and are oh so happy that we were right.
– Despite the previous boycott and badmouthing of the Oscars throughout the decades, last night’s reaction showed that Spike Lee always really wanted that award. We were excited to see his joy and loved the Morehouse shoutout (#FILA).
-This isn’t a fashion blog but I have to mention that Jennifer Lopez won the night with her hair, makeup and dress. Ok, I’m done.
-Last night included a celebration of both Latino and African American influence also with the wins of “Roma” and “Spider-man: Into the Spiderverse”. We were here for every minute of it.
“Greenbook” taking the highest honor of the night made our stomach turn literally. The night showed so much progress but this win reminded us that we still have a ways to go. The Academy repeatedly shows favor for films with a racial dynamic and a heroic white character. “Greenbook” is about a prominent pianist, Dr. Donald Shirley and his unlikely friendship with his racist driver Tony Lip through the Jim Crow Deep South. The choice of “Greenbook” stung because it was a misrepresentation with a script that was modified to create a feel good movie with a prominent white savior. The writers did not consult Shirley’s relatives before or during production, and in inteviews the family asserted that Shirley himself did not want a film made about his life. His last living brother, Maurice, said he wouldn’t see “Green Book” because it was “full of lies.” At the time when the nominations were announced, we were so angry at the thought of “Greenbook” winning that we wanted to boycott the Oscars ourselves. We’re still pissed this morning but also don’t think it’s fair to miss out on all the other joyful recognition of the those that we adore in the industry. We’re in for 2020 but we ask you talented African American actors, please stop taking these roles (yes Octavia we’re talking to you too). We can’t stomach another “savior” win.