Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Back in 2009 in the infancy of this sit, I started compiling a top ten most promising actors and actresses.  While I was still deciding on who would make the grade, Caz from Lets Go to the Movies posted a list of top ten actors.  I duly decided to drop my actors list and write about ten young actresses.  I didn’t have a hard and fast criteria, but set an age limit of 25 and excluded anyone who was an established A list star, such as Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley who were both 24 at the time.  So what has happened since then?  The most significant thing, Scarlett Johansson aside, most of the biggest stars have broken through since the my 2009 article they include: Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley , Carey Mulligan, Rooney Mara, Dakota Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Mia Wasikowska and Emma Stone.  The most significant people I failed to mention were: Saoirse Ronan and Anna Kendrick.  So what of those I mentioned?

The Hunger Games

Dakota Fanning: 15 at the time now 23, Dakota’s most significant performance that I have seen since my original post was as Cherie Currie in The Runaways.  Although still giving good performances the great roles don’t appear to be coming her way.  She seems to have been somewhat eclipsed by her Younger sister Elle (19 today). She does have the interesting looking Ocean’s Eight coming out next year.Dakota Fanning

Kristen Stewart: I sighted Adventurland as proof that Stewart (who turns 27 today), could act and had a career beyond Bella Swan.  I think I have been proved right.   With standout suporting roles in Still Alice, Clouds of Sils Maria and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and excellent starring roles in Personal Shopper and Equals she has not only proved to be a great actress, but also one who makes interesting choices.  I am yet to see Certain Women but have heard positive things about it. Kristen Stewart

Nikki Reed: 13 is remains and will probably remain the actresses most significant work.  Now 28 she has totally dropped off my radar, I don’t think I have seen her in anything since the Twighlight movies.   Nikki Reed

Ellen Page: After my original article Page now 30 went on to star in the hugely successful Inception directed by Christopher Nolan.  She reprised her role as Kitty Pryde in the X-Men franchise playing a relatively small but very significant part in the excellent Days of Future Past. Kitty Pryde Ellen Page

Evan Rachel Wood: I first say  Wood now 29 starring alongside Nikki Reed in 13.  At the time of writing she had appeared in The Wrestler alongside Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, she appeared to be on the brink of mega stardom but never really made the jump.  She has since found her most significant part and greatest acclaim on TV in Westworld.Evan Rachel Wood

Camilla Belle: At the time of writing back in 09, Belle’s star was on the rise.  Now 30, I haven’t seen her in a single movie.  She is still working with 10 IMDB credits it the time, I just haven’t seen any of them. Camilla Belle

Olivia Thirlby:  Best known as Juno’s best friend Olivia Thirlby was a bit of a long shot for the list.  Now 30, she hasn’t found the breakthrough role she needed.  however, she has starred in one excellent film, the massively underappreciated Dredd. Olivia Thirlby

Kat Dennings: Dennings now 30 is currently best known for the TV show 2 Broke Girls and for providing comic relief in the Thor movies . Kat Dennings

Megan Fox:  Now 30, I expected Fox to try more interesting roles following Jennifer’s Body, unfortunately the Transformers star seems to be concentrated on rubbish comedies and the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

Amanda Seyfried: At 24 then and 31 now, Seyfried is the oldest star on the list.  She has proved to be a first rate and diverse actor.  Most exciting of all, she is set to appear in the new series of Twin Peaks later this year. Amanda Seyfried

I also had a couple of bonus picks:

Olivia Wilde: At 25, now 33 Wilde was older than the rest on the list and still largely a TV star.  She made the breakthrough with several movie roles, the highest profile being TRON: Legacy.  She continues to work in both TV and film. olivia wilde tron

Jennifer Ulrich: I predicted the German actress now 32 would make the jump to Hollywood, she hasn’t.  She has continued to work in German TV and Movies. Jennifer Ulrichwe are the night

King Arthur

A little like Robin Hood, every few years sees a new version of King Arthur, more often than not they fail to live up to the potential.  With the latest incarnation: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword due out next month, it’s a good time to look back at some past interpretations of the story:

King Arthur Legend of the Sword

The best interpretation of the legend I have come across came, not on the screen but on the page.  Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles (The Winter King (1995), Enemy of God (1995) and Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur (1997)) is a trilogy of books telling the story of Arthur from a more grounded prospective.  Set in a Post-Roman Britain at a time when the nation was under constant threat of invasion at the same time as being torn apart from within by petty struggles from the kingdoms.  There is also a struggle between the new Christianity that is sweeping the country and the Old Religions. The reason the story works so well is the way the magic is stripped away  to little more than superstition and legend leaving the writer free to tell a story of realistic historical fiction that retains all the elements of Arthurian mythology. Using the original Welsh legends of the Dark Ages as a foundation, but also including later European characters such as Lancelot.  Very  cinematic in its structure I am always surprised it has never been adapted for the screen, large or small.

The Warlord Chronicles

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975): A ludicrously low budget and silly telling of the story that hits the marks you would expect in a story of Arthur with the comic inclusion of The Voice of God, killer rabbits, holy hand grenades, a wizard named Tim, a Trojan Rabbit, and who could forget The Knights who say Ni.  The budget didn’t stretch to horses so the actors skipped along pretending to be ridding they way children would in the playground, while their aids followed banging coconut shells together simulating early foley work.  The result is totally ridicules, but hilarious as you would expect from the Python’s.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Excalibur (1981): Taking its name from the legendary sword of King Arthur, John Boorman’s film is based on the 15th century Le Morte d’Arthur (the death of Arthur) by Thomas Malory.  Malory’s work has become the basis of many people’s Arthurian stories, it was itself based on existing stories from English, Welsh and French stories as well as his own inventions.  The film tells the story of Arthur from his conception to his downfall.  The story contains all the characters you would expect: King Arthur, Merlin, Guenevere, Morgana Le Fay, Lancelot, Perceval, Uther,  Pendragon, Igrayne, Mordred.  A million miles from the reality based version of Bernard Cornwell, this is pure fantasy and, probably the best fantasy version of the story.

Excalibur

King Arthur (2004): Let’s begin by saying the movies tagline “The True Story Behind the Legend” is a bit of a stretch, well actually it is total bullshit!  The story is as fictional as any other legend of Arthur.   Setting the story in a similar time to Bernard Cornwell’s take on the story, this Antoine Fuqua directed effort goes a stage further taking every sense of magic and fantasy out of the story.  Arthur (Clive Owen) is depicted as a Roman cavalry officer.  Guinevere (Keira Knightley) is a native Briton and the Daughter of Merlin (Stephen Dillane -best known as Stannis Baratheon from Game of Thrones) a tribal leader.  The story is a little convoluted but culminates in a Briton/Roman battle against Saxon invaders.  The film was met with nearly universally poor reviews but was actually an enjoyable if slight film with a fantastic cast making the most of the underwritten characters.

King Arthur

Again like Robin Hood, Arthur has also appeared on TV many times, here are a few of the memorable ones:

Merlin (1998): A three part miniseries depicts Merlin as the central character of the story.  A fantastic cast is led by Sam Neill as the titular Merlin and Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan Le Fey. The effects look dated now but  the story is good.

Merlin

The Mists of Avalon (2001): I have never seen this two part, three hour miniseries but am intrigued.  The IMDB synopsis reads: Based on the bestseller by Marion Zimmer Bradley It tells the story of the women behind King Arthur; including his mother, Igraine; his half-sister, Morgaine; his aunt Viviane, the Lady of the Lake; and his wife, Gwenwyfar.

The Mists of Avalon

Camelot (2011): It ran for just one 10 episode season on HBO and was largely overshadowed by Game of Thrones that started around the same time.  It wasn’t great but has some interesting ideas, namely complicated flawed human characters rather than black and white portraits of good and evil.  The main reason to watch are Joseph Fiennes as Merlin and Eva Green as Morgan. It is probably a good think that it didn’t catch on as it may have stopped Eva Green making the amazing Penny Dreadful.  The other reason I mention the series here, is that its look is very similar to what I can see of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from the trailer.

Camelot

There has also been a very popular series Merlin that ran on primetime BBC from 2008 to 2012, I gave up on it after the first episode so don’t really know anything about it beyond its popularity.  Will King Arthur: Legend of the Sword be any good and go on to be a franchise, or will Excalibur (1981) remain the benchmark for Arthurian movies.  Check back in a month or two to find out. 

After a gap in proceedings last month I finally caught up on Moonlight and Fences, the last two Oscar contenders I had missed.  Making up for lost time I also saw another dozen movies: 

Logan: Finally a Wolverine movie worthy of the character from the comic books.  More violent than anything else we have seen from the franchise.  Within the confines of a comic book movie it is also far more realistic and grounded than usual.  Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are both fantastic in parts they have grown into in the seventeen years since the first X-Men movie.

Logan

Trespass Against Us: Family crime drama set within a traveller community.  Michael Fassbender again proves to be one of the best actors working today.  Brendan Gleeson has fun with the more showy role.

Trespass Against Us

Moonlight: Had I seen this before all the hype I would have probably declared it the best small independent film in years.  As good as it is, and although I wouldn’t argue with its Oscar win, I have seen films in the past year that I prefer.

Moonlight

The Great Wall: As stunning to look at as you would expect from Yimou Zhang.  The story is silly beyond belief but is entertaining and fun.

The Great Wall

The LEGO Batman Movie: The follow up to The LEGO movie is essentially a Batman spoof and not a LEGO movie.  Ultimately it is good fun with the jokes coming thick and fast.

The LEGO Batman Movie

Kong: Skull Island: Shortly after the end of the Vietnam War a group of scientists and soldiers go in search of the titular giant ape.  Uneven and disjointed but always fun.  Not a patch on the 1933 original but better than most other attempts to update the story.

Kong Skull Island

Viceroy’s House: Essentially the Cliff Notes of Lord Mountbatten and Britain’s Withdrawal from India.  Entertaining and informative but lacking any great depth.

Viceroy's House

Fences: Denzel Washington’s movie adapted from August Wilson’s play.  Fantastic acting but the film fails to escapes its theatrical origin.

Fences

Free Fire: Ben Wheatley’s costume drama goes back to a more incoherent time, well not exactly; 1978, an arms deal goes wrong resulting in a violent but often amusing shootout.  Clocking in at a brisk 90 minutes, it’s a movie a many filmmakers could learn a lot from.

Free Fire

Personal Shopper: After a fantastic supporting performance in director Olivier Assayas’ previouse film Clouds of Sils Maria, Kristen Stewart returns to star.  A haunting film the seeps into your psyche.  Not as good as Clouds of Sils Maria but Stewart is sensational.

Personal Shopper

Get Out: A clever race satire dressed up as a horror/thriller.  Far more intelligent and subversive than many have give it credit for.  Best of all it is tremendous fun.

Get Out

Life: Is there life on Mars? Scientists on the international space station examine samples from The Red Planet and find that there was Life on Mars.  Engaging, largely thanks to a likeable cast but without the grit or originality of Alien.

2219634 - LIFE

Power Rangers: Surprisingly not terrible.  Most of the film is a teen drama that is clichéd but not dull.  The robots hitting each other ending is as bad as anything Transformers has to offer.

Power Rangers

Ghost in the Shell: Like action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s seminal 1995 cyberpunk manga anime.  It looks amazing and Scarlett Johansson is brilliant perfectly playing a charter who is literally uncomfortable in her own skin.  Unable to transcend its manga and anime origins it is a little cold but texture is added by Clint Mansell and Lorne Balfe’s fantastic retro future score.  If that hasn’t sold it to you, to top it all off, it also features Takeshi Kitano.

Ghost in the Shell

Not every film I saw this month where great, but I enjoyed them all in some way, even the weaker ones.  When you strip away the also ran’s we are left with five contenders for movie of the month.  You could argue that Moonlight is the best film this month but it isn’t the movie of the month.  Did I truly love Personal Shopper or did I just love Kristen Stewart’s performance? Get Out is the cleverest and probably most relevant movie of the month and is so close, but not the movie of the month.  Logan was my movie of the month right up until I started writing this last paragraph, I can’t get beyond the simple sublime brilliance of the movie of the month: Free Fire. 

Free Fire movie poster

Dom 5

I had a couple of Oscar articles planned before the awards but was ill at the time and didn’t get around to it, I also didn’t get around to posting Sixth Annual Groovers Movie Awards.  Better late than never! All awards are chosen by me and the criteria for eligibility is decided by me.  The categories for the awards given aren’t always the same year on year.  The award, is called the “Dom”, if you don’t know the relevance you need to watch the movie Fandango (1985).

Best Film: Should I christen it the Denis Villeneuve  award?  For the second year in a row the best movie of the year is directed by Villeneuve: Arrival

arrival

Best Director: Tom Ford. Proving A Single Man wasn’t a fluke, Ford is back with Nocturnal Animals.  The second best movie of the year and one that is directed with a precision reminiscent of David Fincher, past master John Ford.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Best Performance: This is where it gets complicated, do you give Amy Adams the best performance award for Arrival or Nocturnal Animals? It doesn’t matter, you would be right either way.

Amy Adams

Most Fun Movie of the Year: Sing Street, John Carney’s story of a teenager who starts a band for the most noble of reasons, to impress a girl, is fun, funny and charming.

sing-street

Best Horror: To be honest, Green Room, Jeremy Saulnier’s follow-up to Blue Ruin is more a violent thriller than an horror, but it is shocking, violent, bloody and visceral; all the elements of a great horror.

green-room

Breakout Star: The startling thing about the breakout star, Anya Taylor-Joy is how out of nowhere that she came.  Last years winner Alicia Vikander had been a star of TV and film in her native Sweden for a decade before her moving to English language movies.  Prior to The Witch, Taylor-Joy has just two IMDB credits, a bit part in Vampire Academy and an episode of TV Show Endeavour.  As well as her sensational performance in The Witch she is also fantastic in the underrated Morgan and  Split.

Anna Taylor Joy

Fandango Award: Kelly Fremon Craig – Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. It gives its name to this award for the best breakout film-makers of the year:  This years winner; Kelly Fremon Craig had just one credit as a writer before writing, directing and producing The Edge of Seventeen.  As the director of the best teen movie in a generation she is in some pretty impressive company: John Hughes, Mark Waters, Michael Lehmann, Richard Linklater and Nicholas Ray.

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

Dom 5

Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, wishing you’d done it all differently. And choose watching history repeat itself. Choose your future. Choose reality TV, slut shaming, revenge porn. Choose a zero-hour contract, a two hour journey to work. And choose the same for your kids, only worse, and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody’s kitchen. And then… take a deep breath. You’re an addict. So be addicted, just be addicted to something else. Choose the ones you love. Choose your future. Choose life.

t2 trainspotting

I saw T2 Trainspotting back in January on general release.   I didn’t get around to writing about it at the time so wasn’t going to bother.  With the North American release imminent now is as good a time as any.  However, there is little point in reviewing it as there are already a plethora of opinions online.     

To talk about T2 Trainspotting, first we have to go back to the original film from 1996.  Trainspotting was a special film in its day.  In 1996 I was a student and immersed in the culture of the day.  Times were good, it was pre 9/11, the economy was booming after the recession of the early 90’s, Brit Pop was at its height, The England football team weren’t.  At the movies Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith and particularly Quentin Tarantino were spearheading a new independent cinema that spoke to our generation, but they are all American.  Trainspotting was different, Trainspotting was British, Trainspotting was ours.  Overnight Trainspotting posters started replacing Reservoir Dogs posters on the walls of every student house in town.  It was the tinny glimmer that a British film industry could make modern contemporary and exciting films.

Trainspotting-Poster

The first thing that is worth mentioning is that Trainspotting wasn’t really set in 1996.  Based on Irvine Welsh’s novel from three years before it, a date is never actually mentioned but it feels more like the late 80’s early 90’s, a less hopeful time.  The Choose Life mantra dates back to the Katharine Hamnett T’shirts of the mid 80’s.  Did this squalor make us feel even better about the time we were living in?  The new film appears to be set in the modern day, Renton’s new choose life speech tells us how it all went wrong and how we have a less optimistic outlook, making it truly a film for 2017 and the political climate.

Irvine Welsh

Back in 1996, there was a certain buzz about Trainspotting long before release, partly thanks to the cult status of Welsh’s novel but more to do with Danny Boyle’s feature début Shallow Grave from two years before.  I still went to see the film with a certain amount of trepidation because of the subject matter.  How much fun could a film about heroin addicts be?  But Trainspotting isn’t about heroin, it is about life, it is about the choices we make.   It doesn’t glorify heroin, but it doesn’t condemn its protagonists, it glorifies life.  Along with well drawn characters, this is what lets the film be both compelling and devastatingly funny.

So, as Simon aka Sick Boy asks Mark Renton: what have you been up to, For 20 years? For a start, director Danny Boyle and star Ewan McGregor had a famous falling out over the studio’s insistence at casting the more bankable Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach.  This gap has made a difference.  Boyle has spoken about how they tried to make a sequel after ten years based on Welsh’s follow up novel Porno.  The twenty year gap has given the story and its characters space to breath.  The film starts with Renton running on a treadmill, a perfect juxtaposition to his running from security guards after shoplifting in the opening to the first film.  Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie are all doing about what you would expect of them.  Spud (Ewen Bremner) is the biggest revelation of the movie, the least used and often comic relief of the first film becomes the most significant and poignant character of T2.  I have never seen a sequel that uses so much of the original film.  The nods and flashbacks are a great risk, but actually provide many of the films best moments.  Along with flashbacks to the main characters as children this not only makes for an interesting film, it also adds extra colour to the original film.

t2-trainspotting-teaser

I was lucky enough to catch a screening of the original film a week before seeing the sequel.  Anyone planning on seeing T2 should re-watch Trainspotting first to get the most out of both films.   In the movie, Sick Boy accuses Renton of being  nostalgic, “You’re a tourist in your own youth”.  The film is nostalgic, in fact, it is both more nostalgic and melancholic than I expected but no less enjoyable.  It isn’t as good as the original but Trainspotting set the bar so high I didn’t expect it to be, most fans won’t be disappointed. 

Please do not adjust your set, normal service will resume shortly.  For the first time since starting this feature in June 2009, I have failed to post my movie of the month list.  Hit by cold, chest infections and chronic man flue not only have I not being writing about movies, I have not being going to see them.  I had plans to see the last two Best Picture Oscar Nominations Fences  and Moonlight; as well as the one off screening of Foreign Language contender Toni Erdmann.  Sadly none of this happened, I still have a couple of days to catch Moonlight and Fences but have missed my chance to see Toni Erdmann until it crops up on Netflix or similar.  So what did I see?

Hacksaw Ridge: A film of two halves, the war film is brilliant, the build up was to sentimental and preaching. andrew-garfield

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: The final Resident Evil movie until the inevitable reboot.  It is as dumb and convoluted as the previous five films, but it is also good fun and never boring.resident-evil-the-final

Hidden Figures: The true story of Africa American woman working at the heart of NASA at the height of the space race.  A feel good movie without the baggage of sentiment. Octavia Spencer received an Oscar nomination, the other two leads: Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe are just as good as is Kevin Costner in a supporting role. hidden-figures

 Loving: The true story of Richard and Mildred Loving a mixed race couple whose marriage was deemed illegal in 1958 Virginia.  Cleverly concentrating on the couple and  not the legal case, Ruth Negga and  Joel Edgerton are both outstanding. loving

Fifty Shades Darker: It’s easy to poke fun at this film, I would rather look for the positive, sadly there is little positive to say beyond the charisma and comic timing of star Dakota Johnson, she and co star Jamie Dornan deserves so much more. fifty-shades-darker

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: An interesting little film told mainly in flashback.  Surprisingly good largely thanks a great performance from unknown Joe Alwyn.  There are also some great supporting performances especially from Kristen Stewart. 1289347 - BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK

20th Century Women: Back in 2010 writer / director Mike Mills gave us Beginners.  A film about his late father.  Now he is back with one about his mother.  Set in the late 70’s it is a very modern movie with some quirky storytelling.  Annette Bening is sensational, Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig are also great in supporting roles. 20th-century-women

John Wick: Chapter 2: Three years ago John Wick gave us a bonkers over stylised ultraviolent revenge thriller. This sequel is basically the same again.  It doesn’t offer anything new but is just as much fun as the original.  john-wick-chapter-2

Lion: True story of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta before being adopted by an Australian couple.  25 years later he attempts to track down where he is from with the help of google earth.  Both Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel are excellend as the older and younger versions of Saroo. lion

What a choice, we have the worthy of Loving and Hidden Figures or the fun of John Wick: Chapter 2, which is movie of the month? I could make a case for all three as well as 20th Century Woman.  Close call but movie of the month goes to:hidden-figures-movie-poster

#OscarsSoBlack?

Last year the Oscars were overshadowed by a controversy so big it even had its own hashtag: #OscarsSoWhite.  While it was reported that celebrities such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee threatened to boycott the ceremony (I have no idea if they attended or not), one man spoke sense.  British actor Idris Elba gave a speech bemoaning the lack of opportunities for black people in the British film and TV industry. Idris Elba

This is the real point.  Oscar, or the Academy to be more precise, isn’t a sinister group of people who get together in a dark and smoky room to decide who is going to win the awards based on the current zeitgeist, a desire to snub a group of people or honour someone based on past glory!  The academy is a group of disparate individuals (most of whom are old white men) voting for films they probably haven’t seen.  The hashtag campaign was bore out of a lack of diversity.  In the acting categories, all twenty nominations last year were white:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Bryan Cranston, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne, Matt Damon
  •  Brie Larson, Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling
  •  Mark Rylance,  Sylvester Stallone, Tom Hardy, Mark Ruffalo, Christian Bale
  • Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kate Winslet, Rachel McAdams, Rooney Mara

But a little like Idris Elba suggested, the problem isn’t with the academy, the problem is with the industry and with the audience, us! Last year’s Oscars may be remembered for the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, but will it be remembered for the snub of numerous black actors?  I would say probably not.  I only saw just over 100 Oscar eligible movie so probably missed a few smaller gems.  Of what I saw, the only black actor who I can think of who should be disappointed is Michael B. Jordan for Creed.

But things are very different this year, the nominations are:

  • Casey Affleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen, Denzel Washington
  • Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep
  • Mahershala Ali, Jeff Bridges, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel, Michael Shannon
  • Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Nicole Kidman, Octavia Spencer, Michelle Williams
  • oscar-2017

Seven of the twenty acting nominations are for none white actors.  The most notable film is Hidden Figures for several reasons.  Octavia Spencer is fantastic and well deserving of her nomination, but her co-stars Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe are both equally as good. Finally the film is doing surprisingly well. Viola Davis is probably the safest bet for a winner.

But should we be congratulating ourselves yet?  Fences, Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Loving are all films about black people or black issues.  When the awards are colour-blind, that’s when we have made progress and can celebrate.  A recent example of this would have been Denzel Washington’s best actor nomination for Flight (2012).  He was playing a character who could have been any race (or either sex).  But even this idea is diluted a little by the fact that it is Denzel, not Denzel Washington, just Denzel! You say the name Denzel and everyone knows you are talking about Denzel Washington.  He is such a megastar and so beloved that he does transcend race to a certain degree.  Furthermore the nomination came after he had already won two Oscars and nominated for a further three, every one (with the possible exception of Training Day) playing characters whose race was significant to the plot or their character.  It would have been more telling had he been nominated for his supporting in Philadelphia (1993), a film where his performance was at least as good as best actor winner Tom Hanks.  This was at a time before he had taken on legendary status.flight

Ultimately, awards are bullshit, it would be far more significant if we had a black James Bond, Superman or Batman.  This then brings us onto a different problem of diversity.  During the recent explosion of comic book movies we are yet to see one with a female lead, the first Wonder Woman later this year.  But then we have made some progress, that part of Finn (John Boyega) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2105) would surely have gone to a white actor a generation ago.  The diversity we see in this year’s awards season is certainly not a bad thing, let’s not get to excited about it, the battle will truly be won when we don’t have to talk about Oscar being black or white.