Saturday, June 23, 2018
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5 movies about African-American culture the Oscars robbed and other major snubs

There are too many instances to list of Academy Award voters being out of touch. Hollywood shoulders much of the blame for not offering equal opportunities to minorities and women. But even when Oscar voters are offered culturally diverse candidates, these aren't rewarded as often as their white and/or male counterparts, as these examples suggest.

Five movies about African-American culture the Oscars robbed

Do the Right Thing (1990): Spike Lee's inner city primal scream is a bona fide masterpiece that earned nominations only for Danny Aiello's performance and the screenplay. Sad irony: The best picture winner that year was Driving Miss Daisy.

Boyz n the Hood (1991): John Singleton became the first African-American nominated for best director, so omitting his movie from the best picture list is puzzling.

Malcolm X (1992): Lee's biopic of an African-American icon earned Denzel Washington a nomination, but the filmmaker's brashness may have cost his movie with voters.

Straight Outta Compton (2015): The eye of this year's Oscar storm, a box office and critical hit almost entirely ignored by the academy, possibly since its culturally accurate hip-hop vibe doesn't appeal to the older, whiter academy membership.

Chi-Raq (2015): Proving he hasn't mellowed, Lee's protest against gun violence and gang culture wasn't even seriously considered by awards season pundits.

Five LGBT-themed movies Oscar voters loved but not enough

Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971): Nominations for best actor (Peter Finch), actress (Glenda Jackson), director and screenplay are usually a golden ticket to the best picture competition. Not in that still-closeted era.

Philadelphia (1993): People remember Tom Hanks was voted the best actor Oscar. That such a cinematic breakthrough, a mainstream movie about AIDS, wasn't among the best picture finalists is a head-shaker.

Boys Don't Cry (1999): Hilary Swank earned her first Oscar portraying a transgender victim of homophobic violence. Yet the movie got only one other nomination, for Chloe Sevigny's supporting performance. The former was historic; the latter a shame.

Brokeback Mountain (2005): Yes, director Ang Lee's story of outdoorsmen in love was a best picture finalist. However, the fact that it lost to Crash, a preachy drama of tolerance, is regarded as one of the academy's worst picks ever.

Carol (2015): One must wonder how six Academy Award nominations, including two actors and adapted screenplay, don't lead to a best picture nomination. Perhaps if snubbed director Todd Haynes weren't openly gay ...

Six snubbed female directors whose movies were best picture Oscar nominees

Over 88 years, only four women have been nominated for the best director Oscar. Only Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) claimed the statuette. This category is historically close in matching best picture nominees, so it's uncommon to see one earned without the other. These six women were exceptions — their films were nominated, they weren't:

Penny Marshall, Awakenings (1990)

Barbra Streisand, The Prince of Tides (1991)

Lone Scherfig, An Education (2009)

Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Debra Granik, Winter's Bone (2010)

Ava DuVernay, Selma (2014)

Four feminist classics the Oscars ignored in best picture balloting

Thelma and Louise (1991): In an odd turn, director Ridley Scott was nominated while Streisand was being overlooked for the best picture finalist for The Prince of Tides. Maybe because he's a man.

A League of Their Own (1992): There's no crying in baseball, but grumbling about this omission is allowed.

9 to 5 (1980): Is there a funnier, more enduring movie about sexist office politics and feminist revenge?

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974): Ellen Burstyn wins best actress, Martin Scorsese directs, and the academy leaves his movie out of the best picture conversation.

Contact Steve Persall at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

   
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