A bitter feud brewing between "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen and writer John Ridley came to frosty head during the Oscars Sunday. Ridley won for best adapted screenplay, and in accepting his award, he bypassed the director to hug director David O. Russell. Ridley did not mention McQueen in his acceptance speech, and McQueen's empty applause at Ridley's win would have barely disturbed the most anxious golfer.
Later that evening, when "12 Years a Slave" took home the award for best picture, McQueen returned the shun, making no mention of Ridley during his acceptance speech.
How did the relationship between writer and director of one of the greatest period pieces in history turn so cold? According to rumors, the two have been at odds for quite some time over screenplay credit, and the feud has bubbled to the threshold of public rudeness and caused producer Brad Pitt to play Switzerland, but even he has proved an unsuccessful peacemaker.
Top Ten DVD List for March 4, 2014
"Big Screen Romances" [8 Movie Collection]
(The Root) – The "It Girl" is really "It." Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar Sunday night for best supporting actress for her role as Patsey in "12 Years a Slave," which also won the Academy Award for best picture of the year.
After hugging director Steve McQueen, her co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup) and (oddly) Liza Minelli, the stunning star took the stage to give an emotional and heartfelt acceptance speech.
"It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's, so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance and for Solomon—thank you for telling her story and your own.
Although he's won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, it's always been about the craft for the veteran actor. So repeated comments that he deserved a nomination for his leading role in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and for "Fruitvale Station," which he co-produced, just roll right off.
"I've been doing this for years and my goal is purely to expand the human experience, to expand myself and connection with other people," he said in a recent phone interview to promote his new film "Repentance." "That's my real goal. It's always nice when people celebrate me or my work. But that's not my real marker. It's seems to be more of a marker for others."
Sure, Whitaker was disappointed that "Fruitvale Station" wasn't among the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture. But he ultimately felt the film didn't need a nomination or an award to validate its success. It was "beautifully done," he says.
The best way to recognize and celebrate African American History Month is make more history. I am writing this series on the Civil Rights Movement and Hip-Hop to encourage a new generation of young, committed and talented freedom fighters to take their rightful place in creating African American history.
There are valid and urgent reasons why we need both a revitalized civil rights movement as well as a vibrant cadre of skillful and productive hip-hop artists who are using their God-given gifts and talents to arouse the consciousness of millions of young people to take action in the interests of freedom, justice, equality and empowerment.
With the systematic right-wing attack on voting rights, growing income inequality, persistent poverty and unemployment and the critical need to rebuild and refortify a sustainable economic development of the African-American community, we must advance and support an intergenerational freedom and economic equality struggle that will be effective in meeting the challenges of the next century. No one should be exempt from being an active supporter and participant in today's ongoing freedom and empowerment movement.
"12 Years a Slave" is benefiting from the most Best Picture buzz as we approach Oscar night, although this is shaping up as one of those rare years when the award for Best Director will probably go to a different film, "Gravity." Look for "12 Years" to net only a trio of statuettes overall, with "Gravity" likely landing seven.
"12 Years a Slave" is the sort of elaborate historical drama the voters just love to recognize, as reflected in such past picks as "The King's Speech," "Gladiator," "Shakespeare in Love," "Titanic," "The English Patient," "Schindler's List," "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Last Emperor," "Amadeus" and "Out of Africa," to name a few. And since the Anglophilic Academy ostensibly is impressed by English accents, it will also help that "12 Years: is a British production.
Besides forecasting the winners, I also suggest which nominees in each category are actually the most deserving. Furthermore, because some great performances are invariably overlooked by the Academy entirely, I also point out some who should've at least been nominated.
Before the 2014 NAACP Image Awards officially kicked off, we were greeted by the sounds of Pharrell Williams' upbeat hit single, "Happy" coupled with a slew of famous Black celebrities grinning and bopping. One of them, actress Tika Sumpter, asked us during that opening segment, "Can you feel the energy?" We could and it carried throughout the night. Of course, we didn't necessarily need the cue to maintain the "happy" during the award show, though it was a nice touch.
Awards show host Anthony Anderson kept the energy going, noting off the bat that Blacks have "started at the bottom," yet we haven't stayed there — that we've only risen and will continue to. Anderson pointed to the recent cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue, which has never had that many shades of Blackness. Ever. Anthony's jokes then shifted to the troubled white people of last year — Justin Bieber, Paula Deen, and Miley Cyrus.
Now, I agreed with Anthony when he said as far as Miley goes, "Stop twerking when you ain't got nothing to twerk." Still, I'm glad that as inclusive as the award's show was in terms of guest and honorees, those types of celebrities only got a few seconds of our attention.