The Oscar nominees and BAFTA winners were both disappointing again this year, in terms of Black actors being largely shut out. The likes of Viola Davis, Danielle Deadwyler, Daniel Kaluuya, and Jonathan Majors could all have been Oscar-nominated this year, but were ‘snubbed’ – in many people’s opinions. One place where Black actors do have a chance to be celebrated is at the NAACP awards – where Black Panther 2 did well.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won Best Picture and Best Ensemble Cast. Tenoch Huerta won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Namor, and Angela Bassett won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Ramonda. Bassett also won the coveted prize of ‘Entertainer of the Year’ – the other nominees in this category were Mary J. Blige, Quinta Brunson, Viola Davis and Zendaya.
Bassett has been Oscar-nominated for Black Panther 2 (the first time a Marvel actor has been Oscar-nominated), but she faces stiff competition from Kerry Condon and Jamie Lee Curtis. Following on from his Oscar win last year, Will Smith won Best Actor at the NAACP awards for Emancipation. Viola Davis won Best Actress for The Woman King.
Before the Oscar nominations were announced Viola Davis, and to a lesser extent Danielle Deadwyler, were among the favourites. Deadwyler starred in movie based on a true story, Till. Andrea Riseborough and Ana de Armas were both surprises during the Oscar nomination announcements, with some people angry that they had ‘taken spots’ from Black actresses.
Many awarding bodies such as The Academy (who award the Oscars), BAFTA, and the Golden Globes have taken steps to diversify since the ‘Oscars So White’ controversy, which was kickstarted by April Reign in 2015. Halle Berry is still the only Black actress to have ever won an Oscar for a Leading Role. No Black women were nominated in the Lead Actress category in 2021, 2022 or 2023. Of course the fight extends to Black actresses being given leading roles, let alone being awarded for them.
Black actors have fared somewhat better – with Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker, and Will Smith all winning the Lead Actor Oscar since 2000. Foxx, Whitaker, and Smith all won for The Academy’s favourite genre – the biopic. Washington won for a rare villainous role in thriller movie Training Day.
While we wait for this year’s Oscar ceremony in March, check out the new movies still to come in 2023.