The 2016 awards season will likely be remembered as the year film fans finally said “enough is enough.” As the #OscarsSoWhite social media protest went viral, fans criticized the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees, noting that actors of color were vastly underrepresented in the ranks of top cinema stars.
Now that the 2017 awards season is approaching, movie and television viewers can only hope to see more black films, actors, and directors being recognized on the red carpet. While it’s still early to pick out the potential contenders, here are a few black films and TV shows to look forward to in the coming year.
In an adaptation of the real-life story leading up to landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case Loving v. Virginia, Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton star as the interracial couple who struggled to keep their love alive in the 1960s. Before the civil rights case named after them, Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute declared interracial coupling illegal. However, their fight for marriage equality overturned the existing laws, bringing an end to all race-based restrictions on marriage in the United States.
The Birth of a Nation
After its wildly successful premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, this film was bought by Fox Searchlight for a record $17.5 million. “Birth of a Nation” tells the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1831. Filmmaker Nate Parker wrote, directed, and starred in the film, setting him up for a potential Oscar nomination. However, this optimism was short-lived as Parker’s 1999 sexual assault allegations resurfaced.Though the filmmaker was acquitted, the media coverage has cast a grave shadow over the film and Parker’s potential nomination.
Set against the backdrop of the emerging crack-cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in 1983, Academy Award-nominee John Singleton’s new series has been ordered by FX for a 10-episode season. The acclaimed Singleton made his directorial debut in 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood,” nabbing an Oscar for Best Director and becoming the youngest person and first African American to ever receive this award. This year he was nominated for an Emmy for directing an episode of FX’s “People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”
Nearly half (45%) of adults believe that celebrities can make a significant impact on advancing important issues. With so many noteworthy names hitting the big screen this year, one can hope that actors, filmmakers, and even audiences of color will gain the recognition they deserve on the red carpet come awards season.