Oscar nominations: black artists are (finally) coming out of the shadows – Jeune Afrique

Regularly lambasted for its lack of diversity, the ceremony, to be held on April 25, selected a record number of African-Americans. The African continent, with only two directors still in the running, is eclipsed, however.

The 93rd Academy Awards, to be held on April 25 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, are already promising to be historic. The Academy has long been attacked for not rewarding enough blacks. A #OscarsSoWhite (“so white Oscars”) campaign was even launched in 2015, relayed by media such as the New York Times Where Variety, highlighting the absence of non-white actors, directors or producers in the charts.

The pressures have paid off. Impossible, of course, to predict which artists will be rewarded, but the last list of the selected gives pride of place to African-Americans. And the films in which they intervene often put these heroes at grips with whites (American government, producer, FBI…) in scenarios which cast a militant look at the past.

Actors, makeup artists, production teams …

Viola Davis, nominated in the Best Actress category for the film My Rainey’s Black Bottom (Ma Rainey’s blues, an adaptation of a piece about the blues singer and the tensions with her team, especially her white producer), is today the black star who has been most named in Oscar history. Andra Day (who embodies Billie Holiday with panache in The United States vs. Billie Holiday) is selected in the same category.

For the first time, black makeup artists, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson (My Rainey’s Black Bottom), were selected in the best makeup and hairstyles category. Also in the same film, actor Chadwick Boseman is also selected for a leading role.

Named six times, Judas and the Black Messiah (The Rise of Fred Hampton, a member of the Black Panthers targeted by the FBI) ​​is the first film in competition whose production team (Shaka King, Ryan Coogler, Charles D. King) is black.

Drunk, the first Pixar feature film co-directed by an African-American director (Kemp Powers) and the company’s first to feature a black hero, was selected in the “best animated film” category. “

A first Tunisian film selected

Extract from the film The Man Who Sold His Skin. © Bac Films

We could hope that African films would also be selected in number: the Academy had pre-selected 15 films from the continent in the category of best foreign film. The dreamlike Ivorian feature film The night of the Kings, of Philippe Lacôte, had passed all the stages of pre-selection… until the last, and was unfortunately not retained.

So stay to represent Africa The man who sold his skin, by director Kaouther Ben Henia: the first Tunisian film selected for the Oscars. The South African documentary The Wisdom of the Octopus was also retained.

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Oscar nominations: black artists are (finally) coming out of the shadows – Jeune Afrique