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Al Run

I went to an MLK event for Northwestern in February, and the speaker was an African-American actor...I can't remember his name; he was in the last two Matrix movies. Anyway, he railed against the Academy for awarding Oscars for to black actors when they play pimps (Denzel Washington) and prostitutes (Halle Berry), but not when they play dignified leaders, professors, pastors, philanthropists, etc. I never really realized it, but the last "positive" role played by an African-American -- and recognized by the Academy -- was when Poitier was in "Lillies of the Field." (He won best actor.) That was decades ago! As you point out, the racism is subtle, but it's just as deadly...maybe moreso.

One caveat: You could say that Denzel played a positive role in Glory, I suppose. That garnered him a best-supporting-actor award. (Or should I say, "We GAVE him a best-supporting-actor award"? ;)

I liked "Crash," and I'm glad it won best picture. I think it broke down a lot of stereotypes...Am I wrong?

John H

Regarding Crash, I didn't see it. From what I understand, the point is that everyone's a racist. I'm not a racist and I'm not that interested in getting beat over the head with a film telling me otherwise. I agree with James, though, that the irony of Crash being "given" best picture by the acadamy is especially rich.

Al Run

I suggest seeing "Crash" before you decide what it's about. Don't judge a book by its color -- whoops, I mean -- cover. (Not sure if that axiom applies here, but I'm just saying that you should see it for yourself.) In my opinion, the movie is about complexity -- the complexity of perspective and of race relations. Nothing is as it appears. Someone who looks to be racist on the surface might actually risk his life to save the life of someone who is of another race. Someone who appears to be loving toward other races might secretly harbor wrong stereotypes. You have to dig a little deeper to find out what someone is all about...that's the lesson that "Crash" points to.

John H

that's nice. probably still won't see it, but good to hear your thoughts on it.

Matt P

Crash was too over the top for me, though I do think John ought to see it (after all, we all know some of the movies you chose to watch during your Blockbuster bonanza ... Post Impact? I mean c'mon.

Frankly, the saddest award "given" was to the Three 6 Mafia. That isn't even the first best original rap song for a motion picture (see Eminem's "Lose Yourself").

This was an all around weak year, but the Mafia's win highlights the glorification of the gangsta lifestyle, which the left seems so blind to the ill-effects of.

A hip-hop song I was listening to last night hits pretty hard on this:

The radio refuse to play stuff like this/
'Cause they're shady souls, they choose the unrighteous/
They want your minds, . for power/
Labels pay them to play the same five songs an hour/
A lot ain't even hot in fact/
I heard the same song so many times I almost forgot it was wack/
When the same message is pumped repeatedly/
Maybe not immediatly/
But sooner or later the seed will be a tree/
Your crazy if you don't think it affect the minds of the kids/
When they favorite rapper be flossin' they diamonds and cribs/
And they're rhyming is about grabbin techs to blast ya/
But he's a slave, a record exec his master/
One out of every four black males have been arrested/
One out of every three females have been molested/
You don't see the connection, you living on the surface/
Why would you choose to be ignorant on purpose/
The light in this world is really dim/
When 9 year old girls wanna grow up to be like Lil' Kim/
14 eyes on the guy with the range rover/
He ain't sober, she still believe the things he told her/
Now he got a new lady so for him it may be over/
But for her its just beginning, she's pushing a baby's stroller/
Saying I wish I knew then what I know now/
Somebody should have told us slow down.

Calvin Marshall

While I can understand the comments about Denzel and Halle's oscar wins several years back, I still have a big problem with the complaints.

Certainly, most black folks were happy, perhaps yourselves as well, when you saw that black performers had won, what to them, is the pinnacle of performance in their craft. True, Denzel and Halle played less than savory characters. But that's just it -- they're characters. All whites that win academy awards are based on the performance, whether a positive role model or not. Believe it. I think sometimes we black folk take this stuff a bit to much to heart -- dissatisfied when we win, dissatisfied when we lose.

Don't get me wrong -- I think Denzel was much better in 'Malcolm X' and was equally good in 'the Hurricane' and pretty good in 'Philadelphia'. As I remember, film critis said they saw the range of Denzel's abilities in that movie. Previously, Denzel was always the 'good guy', cast in the hero's role. In 'Training Day', he was very much a flawed character. I'd love to see Denzel to a comedy, just to see if he could pull it off (I'm sure he could).

No one mentioned Whoopi's award for the movie 'Ghost', by the way...

As far as George Clooney's comments, I did watch the Academy Awards live. If you heard the full speech that he made, he referred to Hattie McDaniel among a host of other activities that were seen as "ground breaking" at that time. His comments were not at all centered around Ms. McDaniels. Instead, they focused criticism on those who considered the many stances that actors and 'Hollywood' takes as being liberal. George Clooney is proud to wear the label of liberal. Personally, when I saw his speech, I stood up and applauded in my own home.

I thought Crash was a good movie though as I said to a friend of mine just yesterday, I don't know if black folks (or perhaps other minorities) really learn a whole lot. I do believe, as my friend did, that its a good place to start the dialogue. Definitely a good movie for white folks to see. I personally believe, like many others, that the Academy Award voters found Crash a bit more palatable and socially acceptable versus voting for Brokeback Mountain, labeled as a 'Gay Cowboy movie'.

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