Nobody probably saw it coming. But Nick Cannon in a bizarre twist in the #Oscarssowhite madness came across as the voice of reason in not wanting Chris Rock to step aside. He rightly pointed “Hell yeah I’m going to watch that ceremony where they let a black man be a master for at least two hours. Don’t waste your voice.”
Cannon used his talents. Instead of simply releasing a statement. He released a critical poem online. He stood out amongst a crowded field of dissenting voices. He used his skillset to the best of his ability and called on Chris Rock to do likewise. Others like Tyrese Gibson and 50 Cent rashly called for Chris Rock to boycott the Oscars. It was wise to ignore Gibson’s request. How many times has a black man overseen the Oscars?
One could probably count it on one hand. A black man with a microphone and the world as his audience at a critical moment in film history. Last two black men who had that power were Barack Obama and Martin Luther King. Their voices were definitely heard and listened to.
At a critical moment in the academy’s history and black acting community are both blessed that Chris Rock is taking the stage for the all-important night. For the academy they managed to get one of the sharpest comedians alive. For the black acting community, they got one of the most respected black comedians hold the microphone. Rock is a win-win for all parties involved.
Rumours are rife that Rock has thrown out his original monologue and is rewriting it. That may be true or not. But what is true is Chris Rock is in rare company. There are very few comedians like Chris Rock.
Rock can make you laugh but get manage to get you to think. Rock won’t simply rant on the night, but will address the issues that plague the system but manage to present the issues in a manner very few can replicate.
Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart along with Steve Colbert, Louis. C.K and Larry Whitmore would be some of an elite few that can do what Rock does. But again very few of that group again are black.
Therefore, it is truly baffling Tyrese Gibson would call on Rock to step aside. At this critical moment, you truly couldn’t ask for a more suited individual to step onto the world stage and tackle the major issue at hand. Add in that Rock has presented at the awards before. He has been there and done it. He is used to the pressure. He knows how it works. There won’t be first time jitters. Nobody is better suited than Chris Rock to step up at this moment. The world is watching.
In the last few weeks, there has been outcry over the lack of diversity at the Oscars. Black people quite rightly are aggrieved with the situation at present. But in a time of negativity, one bright moment has been swallowed up by the Oscar crisis. That bright moment being Denzel Washington winning the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes.
It wasn’t the Oscars but nevertheless very few actors achieve the Cecil B. DeMille award. As Tom Hanks noted in his speech when presenting the award, the list of great actors to achieve this award are finite. Possibly aside from Sir Sidney Poitier, Washington is the only other black actor to receive this accolade. In the company of De Niro and Al Pacino, Hoffman.
Washington is just as deserving as the others. Add in the fact that compared to some of the previous winners on the list, Washington has maintained a high performance throughout his career. Compared to the likes of De Niro who goes through highs and lows. It is hard to point out one bad performance by Washington. but he is in the minority. He should have been celebrated more in the aftermath. Instead negative headlines dominated the news.
Washington compared to the likes of Will Smith, Jamie Foxx or any major block buster black actor, may not draw in the same box office figures. However, undeniably if a survey was carried out, Washington would surely be seen as the most reliable, respected and consistent of the major black figures in Hollywood today. At a time when outrage dominates the headlines. A possible alternative is push to Washington forward and use him as a shining example. A black actor who has achieved all the top accolades. Promote him as the champion of black film community.
Add in the reality is that there is not enough films and opportunities being made with black actors/actresses. For a black actor/actress to win, they have to deliver not a great performance, but quite simply an exceptional one in order to stand a chance. Washington has beaten those odds time and time again. The black acting community should look to him to guide them forward.
The reason he possibly hasn’t spoken out yet could be down to him not wanting to be seen as hypocritical. When he has just won the Cecil B. DeMille award. Nevertheless, he should be encouraged to add his voice to the debate. His voice like his performances will not be one of rash, ill-judged move. But one of considered, well-thought opinion. He truly is a solid star that stands out. One that should be celebrated more and should be listened to.
When one mentions motion capture, most people’s minds think of Andy Serkis. No other actor in recent history has done more to promote than Andy Serkis. Films like LOTR, Planet of the apes, King Kong along with Tintin are several samples of Serkis doing Motion Capture. He will be forever linked to motion capture no matter what he does for the rest of his career. Both a blessing and a curse. Nevertheless, if a list of motion capture performers was conducted tomorrow. Serkis’s body of work would put him far out in front.
However, his lonely existence is quickly evaporating. Zoe Saldana delivered such a performance in Avatar there was calls for her to be nominated for an Oscar. Bradley Cooper showed he could deliver as well as Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. A role many can’t wait for him to reprise in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Vin Diesel showed another side of himself by playing Groot in the same film. The main point being that world of motion capture is opening up due to pioneers like Serkis. Eventually we may even see a category for motion capture performance at award seasons. Saldana may even get belated recognition and Serkis be seen as the godfather of motion capture performance.
Another interesting aspect is that of being seen as a motion capture specialist. Serkis being the obvious example. But one possibly not imagined going forward was Lupita Nyong’ O. Nyong’O received an academy award for Best supporting actress in 12 years a slave. She had the world at her feet. She was the darling of the Oscars. Everybody waited with baited breath to see what her next move was. Many previous winners of similar award Best actress had dips after their wins. Halle Berry after her win had a few flops. Reese Witherspoon had a few lean years before she came back into contention. Charlize Theron had a similar story. The point being That Lupita had a lot of capital in her corner, she had more options than she ever had before.
Her first step was to do the film Non-Stop with Liam Neeson. The film did ok, But Nyong’ o had a small role and struggled as a result to make an impression. She seemed destined to lose that Oscar momentum. Everything went quiet until rumours swirled she was in contention for Star Wars. It quickly transpired not for a main role like originally expected. Instead for a motion capture role. Consider that her Oscar momentum was fading. It was great to get a role in Star Wars. But not a role that easily could be similar Non-stop.
Instead, her role of Maz Kanata was one of the major talking points of the new Star Wars film. Her performance was one of the strong points of the film. Interestingly, instead of going back to mainstream acting, she moved to voiceover for the role of Rakcha, a mother wolf to Mowgli in 2016 version of the Jungle Book. She will then reprise her role for Maz Kanata in the sequel to 7th episode of Star Wars. Nyong’o instead of playing it safe when choosing roles after her Oscar success. Instead has gone bold and has been handsomely rewarded. She isn’t there yet. But overtime she could be mentioned in the same conversation as Andy Serkis for her motion capture performances. Along with Saldana, to some she may be remembered overtime for her motion capture performances. For others, it will still be her Oscar performance as Patsy in 12 years a Slave. Either way, her career slows no signs of suffering any dips in the near future.