Glamour. Prestige. Artistic Excellence. Clout?
Whenever Oscar®-time rolls around, I think about Academy Award winners Lou Gossett, Jr. , (1982, Best Supporting Actor, An Officer and a Gentleman) and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (1996, Best Supporting Actor, Jerry Maguire).
Both stellar performers who have not yet gotten roles of comparable substance and power. I think of nominees like Angela Bassett (Best Actress, 1993, What’s Love Got To Do With It?), Remi Adefarasin (Best Cinematographer, 1998, Elizabeth – A Black Brit but give me a pass on this one) and Hugh Robertson (Best Editing, 1969, Midnight Cowboy).
Someone said about Lou Gossett, Jr., Why did they give him the Oscar if they weren’t going to let him work? The key word is ‘they’. The key phrase is ‘let us’. (Of course this isn’t only about blacks. Tatum O’Neill and Marissa Tomei come to mind.) I want to see unqualified black masterpieces that can take the world’s breath away in addition to Tyler Perry. That’s going to happen only if we do the work and get a sustainable, scaleable strategy. Waiting for ‘they’ to ‘let us’ has proven to be a complete failure. Give up on it.
With multi-platform and shifts in the business, the future is unclear. Maybe we can all take a page from friends Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg who seemed to have helped each other figure out how to make substantial moves in always changing times.
This Sunday I’m still hosting an Oscar® party for some filmmaking friends. After the festivities, we’re going to take some time to plot, dream and strategize. If you’re in the biz, we hope you’ll do the same.