R.I.P “Live Long and Prosper”

Leonard nimoy

Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015)

 

Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing the character Spock in the Star Trek television shows and films, died at 83.

Feeling the loss from today’s news of the passing of Leonard Nimoy – forever Mr. Spock.

I am from that generation, the Baby Boomers and yes, James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is my Captain, Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Bones (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan), Chekov (Walter Koenig ) and Sulu (George Takei ) the crew on the Starship Enterprise.

Gene Roddenberry had a vision of a time and space where all races, nationalities and creeds would work together with a common purpose. “…to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” He set precedence with an African-American woman, and Asian not only a part of the crew, but officers on a Starship.  Roddenberry also tackled issues of class warfare, economics, racism, religion, human rights, sexism, feminism, and the role of technology.

Gene Roddenberry also imagined Spock. Half human, half Vulcan. Although Spock embraces his Vulcan, void of emotion logical side, he at times also has to deal with his less logical, emotional, human side. These are some of his best episodes. My favorite is “Amok Time.” Spock goes straight up “anger man” slamming dishes, changing ship’s course and going into blind “kill mode” against Kirk in the “koon-ut-kal-if-fee” fight. Awesome!

I saw an interview with Leonard Nimoy talking about his stint as The Great Paris on “Mission Impossible” and how that experience made him appreciate the complexity of Mr. Spock. As Paris, his character didn’t have those layers. As Spock, he had to balance keeping that stoic face and rational demeanor with storylines that required his ability to convey love, compassion and occasionally frustration in what I like to call his “Menage a trois” relationship with Kirk and Bones. A much more complicated approach to storytelling than the usual TV fare of 1966.

Thankfully we have the Star Trek series, the movies and his body of work to continue to revisit and enjoy. But the fact still remains, we’ll miss you Spock.

R.I.P –  You’ll forever “Live Long and Prosper” in our hearts.

 

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Happy Anniversary Thank You!

It’s officially the 1 Year Anniversary of iheartfilm and my first post!

 

My intent is to share my love of film with fellow aficionados and showcase movies that impressed and made me laugh, made me cry and contributed to my love of cinema.

 

Over the course of the year, I’ve had tremendous support and encouragement from fellow bloggers, friends and visitors from around the world.

 

thank you languages 2

 

Thanks so much for all the love and I hope you continue to come back and share a like or comment. If this is your first visit, hopefully, you’ll decide to follow. This is just the beginning as I continue to grow as a blogger.

 

iheartfilm is a personal passion I enjoy and have enjoyed sharing with you!

From myself and the spirit of Agnes

Agnes thank you

Thank You!

 

 

African-American Oscar History Pt. 2

Last year’s 86th Academy Awards marked a historic night for black filmmakers at the Oscars. It’s the first time a black film – 12 Years a Slave — won best picture; the Academy’s most prestigious award. John Ridley won for Best Adapted Screenplay and Steve McQueen won as Producer.

But, as the 1959 Grammy Award winning vocalist Dinah Washington sang: “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

I’m recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of Black Artists in Hollywood; especially considering the lack of African-American nominations for this year’s 87th Academy Awards.

 

 Oscars 2015: No black actors or female screenwriters, directors or cinematographers were nominated.

 

History

The 12th Academy Awards is historic for being the 1st Oscar nomination for an African-American and 1st Oscar win. Hattie McDaniel accepted her award in 1940 as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Gone With the Wind” as the character – Mammy.

hattie

Hattie McDaniel

 

However, if David O. Selznick (Producer, film studio executive) hadn’t pulled a favor, she might not have been able to deliver her acceptance speech at all. At the time, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub (located in the Ambassador Hotel) was segregated so Ms. McDaniel wasn’t even allowed entrance. Selznick pulled another favor so she could be seated at a table at the very back of the room with her agent. To add insult to injury, Hattie McDaniel wasn’t allowed to speak her own words, the acceptance speech was written by the studio.

Despite all the prejudice, Hattie McDaniel – who at the time was one of the biggest African-American actors in the world -promoted herself for the nomination. After the release of the movie, she placed a stack of outstanding film reviews on O. Selznick’s desk and the rest is history.

 

First Best Actress Oscar 

In 2002, Halle Berry became the 1st (and to date) only African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. The Oscar was for the film “Monsters Ball”.

 

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Dorothy Dandridge – (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) is the 1st African-American actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in 1954 for her performance in “Carmen Jones.” She has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was married to dancer Harold Nicholas. Check out my previous post on the Nicholas Brothers here.

Dorothy_Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Halle Berry portrayed her life in the HBO biographical film “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” in 1999.

Halle_Berry Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

 

Watching Halle’s acceptance speech again while researching this post, I burst into tears reliving her emotion as she tries to process the win and the historical significance of this moment. Looking forward to the acceptance speech of our second Best Actress Oscar Winner.

 

Halle and Denzel Oscars

Halle and Denzel Oscars

This win also marked the 1st time two African-American performers won in leading role Oscars in the same year (Denzel Washington, Training Day).

 

 

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Best Supporting Actress

1st to Win: Hattie McDaniel “Gone With the Wind” 1940

Hattie McDaniel 1940 Oscars

Although known as an actress she was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 became the first black Oscar winner honored with a US postage stamp.

  • Hattie McDaniel was also the oldest African-American actress to win an Academy Award (age 44).

  Finally – 50 Years later the 2nd Winner!

Winner: Supporting Actress – Whoopi Goldberg “Ghost” 1990

  • First African-American actress to receive two acting nominations overall.

  • Second African-American actress to win Best Supporting Actress.

Whoopi oscar

Whoopi Goldberg 1990 Best Supporting Actress

 Winner: Supporting Actress – Jennifer Hudson “Dreamgirls” 2006

jennifer hudson

Jennifer Hudson 2006 Oscar

  •  First African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award for a debut film performance.

  • Youngest African-American actress to win or be nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

  • Youngest African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award (age 25).

  • First African-American actress to win an Academy Award for a musical film.

Oscar

Oldest African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award (age 83) – Ruby Dee “American Gangster” 2007.

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

For her life and career see my previous post here: Ruby Dee

 

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Winner: Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique “Precious” 2009

Mo'Nique

Mo’Nique

  • Second film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

Winner: Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer  “The Help” 2011

  • Third film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress.

Lupita oscar 1

Winner: Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o  “12 Years a Slave” 2013

  • First black African (Kenyan) actress to be nominated.

  • First black African to win in any category.

  • Second black actor to win for a debut performance.

 

  Congratulations and Cheers to these exceptional artists!

 

champagne cheers

 

We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

 

 

African-American Oscar History Pt. 1

In honor of Black History Month

Celebrating the accomplishments of Black Artists in Hollywood; especially in light of the lack of African-American nominations for this year’s 87th Academy Awards.

 

oscars logo

 

Oscars 2015: No black actors or female screenwriters, directors or cinematographers were nominated.

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Our First Best Actor

In 1958, Sidney Poiter became the first black actor to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for “The Defiant Ones.” In 1963, he went on to make history and become the first to win the Oscar for Best Actor in “Lillies of the Field.” I saw the film as a kid and although it was quite popular never expected him to take home the statue.

However, Hollywood did love him. I believe they saw him as non-threatening due to his mild-mannered characterizations. He was quoted as saying he had concerns that he would be seen as a token and never given any substantial roles. Well, his Detective Virgil Tibbs in the film “In the Heat of the Night” sure put that fear to bed. Slapping a white man in racist Mississippi in 1967 was a bold and hand clapping moment in the theater. Poitier was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor and the film won five Academy Awards, including the 1967 award for Best Picture.

 

Sidney Poiter

Sidney Poiter 1963 Oscar for Best Actor

 

Oscar Accomplishments:

  • First African-American nominated for Best Actor award

  • First black male to win an Oscar

  • First black actor to win Best Actor

  • First to receive two acting nominations (Best Actor)

  • Youngest black actor to win Best Actor (37)

 

 

It took 36 years for another win in the Best Actor category, but finally Denzel Washington was recognized by the Academy for his portrayal of Alonso Harris in “Training Day” making him the second black actor to win the Oscar.

1999 also marked the first time two African-American performers won leading role Oscars in the same year. (Halle Berry, “Monster’s Ball“)

 

Denzel and Halle

Denzel Washington and Halle Berry “Best Actors.”

Denzel Washington has the most nominations for an African-American Actor: Best Actor (4 nominations) and Best Supporting Actor (2 nominations).

 

Jamie Foxx 2004 Oscar Best Actor

Jamie Foxx 2004 Oscar Best Actor

Jamie Foxx was awarded the 2004 Oscar for Best Actor as Ray Charles in the biopic “Ray”.  That same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral making him the first African-American actor to receive two acting nominations in the same year.

 

forest whitaker oscar

Forest Whitaker Best Actor 2006

Forest Whitaker is the fourth and most recent African-American male to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film “The Last King of Scotland.”

 

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Best Supporting Actor

First Nominated:  Rupert Crosse“The Reivers” 1969

First to Win: Louis Gossett, Jr – “An Officer and a Gentleman” 1982

Winner: Supporting Actor – Denzel Washington “Glory” 1989

Youngest African-American male actor to win an Academy Award (age 29) – Cuba Gooding, Jr. “Jerry Maguire” 1996

Oldest African-American actor to win an Academy Award (age 67) – Morgan Freeman “Million Dollar Baby” 2004

 

 

 Congratulations and Cheers to these exceptional artists!

Part two in this series will focus on the achievements of African-American Women in film.

 

 

Macabre the 13th

I really don’t need an excuse to watch the creepy, macabre “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) but on Friday the 13th it just seems apropos.

WHAT-EVER-HAPPENED-TO-BABY-JANE

 

 

This film showcases not only the destructive rival between two sisters Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis) and Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford) but also the real life, career-long rival between the actresses. That’s at the center of what makes this such a fabulous movie. I can just see Bette’s wheels turning as she relishes her slow, ongoing torture of Joan, her on-screen nemesis.

 

What ever jane and blanche

 

Directed by Robert Aldrich from the novel by Henry Farrell, the story revolves around former child star – Baby Jane Hudson who can’t make the successful transition to film unlike her sister Blanche who spent her childhood in Baby Jane’s shadow. But, because of a car accident, Blanche is left crippled and Jane is begrudgingly forced to take care of her. Emphasis on the begrudging! – The result? – 133 minutes of pure on the edge of your seat, I can’t believe she just did that, sadomasochist Baby Jane Hudson.

What ever i've written a letter

Baby Jane – “I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy”

 

 

What ever blanche bird

Blanche Hudson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For full disclosure, I’ve always loved Bette Davis! Check out my previous post, If it’s Sunday, break out the hankies! Bette always sought out challenging roles and wasn’t afraid to “go there.” As a matter of fact, in her first acclaimed film, “Of Human Bondage” she both emotionally and physically portrayed the grotesque nature of her character. She made her appearance “haggish” wanting to express the true physical appearance of someone with tuberculosis.

The success of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” re-energized both actresses careers in the 60’s as the “psycho-biddy” subgenre of horror/thriller films featuring psychotic older women came into vogue. Two other movies that followed the trend were Aldrich’s Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte and What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice?.

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, winning one for Best Costume Design.

So, on this Friday the 13th if you’re looking for a treat – I recommended spending a little time with the Hudson sisters and find out – “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?”