Chewitel Ejiofor, Quevenzhane Wallis in 12 Years a Slave
*Hey, would you look at that – suddenly, we seem to be in a boom period for African-American cinema.
It’s still not ideal, and there are several problems with the system (as detailed in John Singleton’s very fine Hollywood Reporter column from its Sept. 27 issue) but the simple fact is that 2013 has seen some smashing successes for African-American films – with several great ones having the distinction of being helmed by promising African-American directors.
Lee Daniels’ smash hit The Butler has crossed the hundred-million mark and is a lock for a heap of Oscar nominations. Ryan Coogler’s astonishing debut effort Fruitvale Station introduced a new star to the masses with Michael B. Jordan (seriously, just give him the Oscar right now).
It all just, again, proves that there are audiences out there that will see quality work by these promising young directors, writers and actors as long as they’re given the chance. Therefore, movie-watchers out there, it’s remarkably important that everyone starts going out to see these flicks. Hollywood listens to the cash register – and investing in a night out to see one of these great works of art really does benefit everyone involved. It’s worth seeking out these movies.
Do yourself a favor and go see the great Twelve Years a Slave when it (hopefully) comes out to a theater near you soon. This gripping tale is another lock for a Best Picture nomination; it stars the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor, was written by the great John Ridley, and was directed by the super-talented Steve McQueen, all wonderfully awesome black film figures.
Please, go see it, and then spend a few more bucks on the Idris Elba-starrer Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom , which should get Elba a Best Actor nomination. Let’s turn these movies into not just hits, but blockbusters – and let’s make sure Hollywood knows that we need more and more great black-themed movies in our multiplexes every week.