Last week, here on the show, after the Grammy nominees were announced, and we learned that the Top 5 most nominated artists were all Black artists, which has never happened before, I did a segment on how we are currently in the midst of a beautiful renaissance of Black music, art, and culture.
I want to double down on that idea this morning.
First off, let me be clear that we don’t need awards from other bodies to determine how rich our culture is. Denzel didn’t win an Academy Award for Malcolm X, but we all know that it was a special performance.
With that in mind, the Golden Globe nominees were announced yesterday morning and I wanna take a moment to double down on the richness of Black art right now. In film and television, really for the first time in our lives, Black folk are getting a wide variety of leading roles that go beyond slaves, thugs and nannies.
The most prestigious nomination for the entire ceremony is Best Motion Picture – Drama – and a film that was written by Black folk, directed by Black folk, and stars Black folk – named Moonlight – which is the painful coming of age story of a young boy in the Deep South, and it’s nominated for Best Picture. Barry Jenkins, the director, was nominated not only for Best Director, but Best Original Screenplay as well. Also, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali, who play powerful roles in the film, were each nominated. We’ve never seen characters like the ones you get to see in Moonlight.
If you have not yet seen a preview for Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, you have to see it. The film comes out on Christmas Day nationwide. We have yet another film, originally written by the playwright August Wilson, directed by Denzel himself, starring a prestigious Black cast. Both Denzel and Viola Davis were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress. This weekend, Viola won the Critic’s Choice Award for Best Actress.
Ruth Negga is a name you’ve probably never heard before, but she stars in the new film, Loving, which is about an interracial couple in the Jim Crow South. Negga stars as Mildred Loving – the wife and mother whose relationship was deemed illegal and inspired a court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Negga was nominated for Best Actress in a drama.
Hidden Figures, which is about the essential roles Black women played at NASA during pioneering space launches, also comes out on Christmas Day. Octavia Spencer was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the film.
Two of the five comedies that were nominated for best TV Comedy Series have Black casts – and they are black-ish and Atlanta. From those shows, Anthony Anderson and Donald Glover were each nominated. Tracee Ellis Ross was also nominated for her hilarious role in black-ish. Black-ish brings it week in and week out. And my friend, Issa Rae, who stars in the new HBO hit, Insecure, was also nominated for best actress in TV comedy. I’m so incredibly proud of her.
No show on television was nominated for more Golden Globes than the breakout hit miniseries, The People vs. OJ Simpson. I think it’s going to come away as a huge winner and it was one of my favorite TV miniseries of all time. Not only was the show nominated, but Courtney Vance was nominated for Best Actor for his role as Johnny Cochran and Sterling Brown, who played Christopher Darden so well that when I think of Christopher Darden I now think of Sterling Brown, was also nominated. Arguably, he should’ve also been nominated for his role in the beautiful new show, This Is Us, as well.
Last but not least, I want to highlight Kerry Washington and Thandie Newton. We all know Kerry, of course, from her leading role in Scandal, but she’s nominated this year for her role as Anita Hill in the HBO television special, Confirmation.
My latest obsession on TV is HBO’s Westworld. It’s been on for a few months, but I just started it last week, and it is AMAZING! On Sunday night, Newton won the Critic’s Choice Award for her role as Maeve in Westworld. I can hardly tell you what she does without giving it all away, but know this – she deserves this award.
My final thought is this – over the next few weeks, turn off the news, stop watching Trump, and go see Fences, go see Hidden Figures, go see Moonlight, watch Westworld and Insecure, check out the People vs. OJ Simpson.
Because here’s what I know – 2017 is about to get real.