Tag: Academy Awards

Why Kevin Hart Shouldn’t Have Played a Victim on ‘Ellen’ (Guest Column)

His interview tried to diminish the actor’s critics as “trolls” and “haters” rather than spotlighting the real-world consequences of his own words, ‘The Fosters’ and ‘Good Trouble’ writer Kris Rehl writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

Watching Kevin Hart’s interview on The Ellen Degeneres Show, I was shocked to see Ellen throw her weight behind his self-victimization. How could this saga go on without Hart taking any real responsibility? “It’s tough for me because it was an attack, a malicious attack on my character, to end me,” Hart said.
When I was a freshman at NYU, a straight guy who lived in my dorm called me a faggot. When I told him he couldn’t talk to me like that, he physically assaulted me, a few steps from my front door. That was a malicious attack. I was 18, alone and spiraled into depression.
It’s hard to sympathize with Hart playing the victim of outrage when he contributed to this culture of violence toward gay men. I’m glad he has grown and stopped using that slur, but his decade-old tweets reached a larger audience when he was offered the Oscar hosting gig. He keeps referencing an old apology that most people haven’t seen, and his fans continue to defend this homophobia, making it even more important that he use larger platforms like going on Ellen to denounce the type of violence he “joked” about inflicting on his potentially gay son. It’s now his responsibility (and, by extension, Ellen’s) to make sure his fan base understands the deeply rooted effects of homophobia in our culture. If Hart has grown like he claims, it’s time for him to listen, learn and speak out.
I believe in the power of television — it’s changed my life, and it’s why I’m a writer. A 2015 Variety survey showed that The Ellen Degeneres Show was more influential in changing audiences’ minds about same-sex marriage than any other media. But Ellen, for all the good she’s accomplished for the gay community, is not our spokesperson.
She also isn’t a gay man, the group that Hart’s violent jokes targeted. Only three days ago, I was walking through Griffith Park with my boyfriend when a man got off a bus, saw us, and screamed “fag” at us multiple times. So I was incredibly disappointed with how Ellen advocated for Hart, diminishing his critics as “trolls” and “haters” rather than spotlighting the real-world consequences of Hart’s words, the people they’ve emboldened and the ones they affect.

So much of Hollywood, even trailblazers like Ellen, can be quick to brush queer people aside. It’s not OK to be openly homophobic like it used to be, but the overwhelming majority of gay actors still can’t come out until after they make it. Every June, studios trot out their floats at Pride as a show of strong allyship despite featuring next to no LGBTQ characters in their major releases. Every gay writer I know has a story where they’ve been told their script or pitch is “too gay.” Homophobia may now be closeted here in Hollywood, but it’s something that queer people have to deal with every day.

I’m not sure how the Academy could honor a movie about conversion therapy and homophobia at their ceremony this year when their host refuses to acknowledge his complicity in that same discriminatory culture. But if Hart doesn’t make things right, I would like to nominate Billy Porter or RuPaul or A Star Is Born’s Shangela to host, because representation matters.

A Look At The Black Actors Who Might Contend For The Best Actor Oscar + Some Interesting History

It’s that time of the year, as prognosticators at every level start handicapping the Academy Awards, which are set to take place on February 24 (nominations will be announced on Januray 15, 2013). As much as some of us might dismiss the Oscars as an indication of where black cinema is, or where blacks in cinema are, we can’t ignore their overall industry relevance. I can already hear the chants: who cares about the Oscars; they’re not for *us.* Well, a lot of folks in the industry (and out) do certainly care, and see value in the recognition. I plan to post a follow-up piece that looks at the history of the awards show, and how (or if) it’s impacted the careers of those black entertainers who’ve won trophies.Today, I’m focusing on black actors who just might make the short list of Oscar nominees in the Best Actor (male) category when they’re announced in January; and as you’d expect, there aren’t many of them.In fact, of the 600+ films that would have seen Oscar-qualifying USA theatrical releases by the end of this year, I counted a total of 19 that feature a black male actor in a leading role. How pathetic is that? Doing the math, that’s about 3% of total volume. It shouldn’t be shocking however; it’s a rare occurrence when we cover a film (especially a studio-backed project) that features a black man in the lead role. Very, very rare. 19 times rare. Actually it’s less than 19, because I’m also including indie features in that number.19 out of well over 600 films! It’s a white man’s world, in case you needed that clarification. The overwhelming majority of films with male leads (the bulk of movies made by studios today) star white male actors. And if you take a closer look at the list of 19 films, you’d very quickly dismiss most of them as potential Oscar contenders, given what we know of the criteria for Oscar-caliber movies. In fact, I’d say of the 19, only 3 really stand a chance of making the short list of nominees for Best Actor. First, here’s the list of 19: Red Hook SummerThe Magic of Belle IsleWuthering HeightsMIB 3Safe HouseThink Like a Man, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness ProtectionFlightRed TailsTyler Perry’s Good DeedsAlex CrossA Thousand WordsThe Man with the Iron FistsThe IntouchablesWoman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th DayUnconditional2 Days in New YorkThe Last Fall, and Django Unchained.Am I forgetting any films? I used Box Office Mojo as my primary source. I don’t think there are any glaring ommissions though.And of those 19, the only 3 that I think have a shot at nominations are: Denzel Washington in Flight (he’s probably a sure-thing), Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, and Omar Sy in The Intouchables.  The last 2 are Weinstein Company movies, and we all know how well Harvey Weinstein does when it comes to ensuring that movies he wants on the ballot, make it on the ballot.The Omar Sy pick might seem out of left field to you, but, as we’ve noted in past posts, there’s been a definite push to get him an Oscar nomination for his work in that film. He already won the French equivalent of the Oscar (the César) for Best Actor, so why not the Oscar as well.”We definitely think this is an Oscar movie, and we think that Omar, like Jean Dujardin before him, is in this race,” Harvey has said. Of course he’s referring to Jean Dujardin who won the Best Actor Oscar earlier this year, for his work in The Artist (one of the most over-rated movies I saw in 2011).Maybe he’ll make it a a double, with Omar Sy this year. I doubt it, given the competition; but a nomination isn’t entirely out of the question.But if I were to pick one of these 3 actors who I thought was guaranteed to make the short list of 5 nominees, I’d go with Denzel without any hesitation. Django Unchained isn’t out yet, but even when it is released, I don’t know if Jamie’s peformance will match the overwhelming buzz that’s surrounded Denzel’s work in Flight since it was released.And I think Omar Sy would need even more of a push. I’m not really hearing his name mentioned as a real contender.As for the other 16 films on the list, the only other title that I’d say has some potential is Wuthering Heights, which stars James Howson as Heathcliff. There just hasn’t been enough buzz to help elevate awareness of the film. It was released on October 5, and was met with mixed reviews. It hasn’t even reached $100,000 in box office, despite having been in theaters for over a month. And I haven’t Howson’s name mentioned at all as a potential awards contender. It would help if he’d been up for other awards, especially as the film traveled the festival circuit, but he hasn’t picked up any.

I should mention that I considered other films with black actors in starring roles, but none of them featured what would be traditionally referred to as a male lead, so I didn’t include them on the list of 19; these are roles that, if nominated, would likely be in the Best Supporting Actor category. For example: Omari Hardwick and David Oyelowo in Middle Of Nowhere (it’s really Emayatzy Corinealdi’s movie); I’d say the same for the male characters in Sparkle, and also Beasts Of The Southern Wild (specifically, Dwight Henry). CONTINUE READING..

So that’s it!