Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Hollywood Ideas for Black Actors
Last year, The Help stirred up some controversy because of Hollywood, yet again, giving black women domestic duty. Starting with Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel for 1939's Gone With The Wind, here are names of other black actresses who got Academy Award nominations for playing women who were maids: Ethel Waters, Juanita Moore, Alfre Woodard, Oprah Winfrey, Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. Spencer and Davis were both in 2011's hit, The Help. Octavia Spencer, like Hattie McDaniel, won for Best Supporting Actress. In the history of Hollywood's Academy Awards, these actresses received only one Oscar nomination: Hattie McDaniel, Dorothy Dandridge (the first black woman nominated for Best Actress), Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll, Diana Ross, Angela Bassett and Halle Berry (first black woman to win Best Actress). Only one nomination each. Marisa Tomei has three nominations to her credit. I'm not disrespecting Tomei's solid acting skills. She had what those black actresses didn't -- many script offers with more good movie roles that could make her an Oscar contender again. It's 2012 and only two black women have more than one Oscar nomination to their credits: Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple and Ghost) and Viola Davis (Doubt and The Help). Today, some folks wonder if Hollywood really "gets it" because of the news that Zoe Sandana is in consideration to play the late, great, politically outspoken singer/songwriter Nina Simone. Ms. Saldana is currently onscreen in The Words.