It deeply saddens me that we have to undergo this debacle of an award show again for the second straight year. It deeply saddens me that a movie that vividly illustrated life as an African American in the 80’s has been shunned by movie pundits. It deeply saddens me that a movie that highlighted a culture’s difficult beginnings — which by the way was marred by racism and violence — can’t manage to squeeze in one nomination outside of its screenplay. I’m mortified by the Oscar’s decision to leave out one of the best movies of 2015 in Straight Outta Compton.
F. Gray Gray’s film was a home run. By recruiting several novices to play integral roles consisting of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy E, he was able to squeeze the talent out of a Corey Hawkins, a Jason Mitchell, and an O’Shea Jackson Jr. Theres guys weren’t acting heavyweights in the box office prior to this film. These guys aren’t pillars of the acting world a la Denzel Washingon, Will Smith, Don Cheatle, etc. Jason Mitchell couldn’t even afford a plane ticket to audition for his role of Eazy-E, but somehow, he managed to kill the role with ease, because of his raw talent.
But, Hollywood overlooked that. Hollywood overlooked the talent of an O’Shea Jackson who replicated his father’s life and demeanor to a tee.
Only two films in the past twenty years starring African Americans have won the award for Best Picture. Those films were 12 Years a Slave in 2014 and Crash in 2006. Denzel Washington won Best Actor for Training Day in 2002 for playing a crooked cop. Washington has played in dozens of movies which had more positive spins that were Oscar-Worthy in comparison to his role in Training Day. The Hurricane, Malcolm X, and John Q were all films that showcased his skills under the bright lights. The same could be said for Halle Berry in her role for Monster’s Ball. Why did she finally have to have her moment after playing the role of a crack fiend, who was saved by a white officer in Billy Bob Thornton, when she had several credible movies of her own? It’s mind-boggling.
If you review the stats for Straight Outta Compton, they were number one for three weeks. They were able to hit $60 million for their opening week, while bringing in $26 million in week 2, and $13 million in week three. Overall, they finished with over $200 million worldwide. Despite all of these accolades, the best the Oscar’s can do is give us Best Original Screenplay, which by the way, was written by two white guys. What a shame isn’t enough.
Maybe we’ll never win. So in behalf of Ice Cube and all of us, the Academy Awards can shove it up theirs. SHARE if you agree.