October 21, 2013 at 11:49 am #116030
Please help me to compile a list of Oscar-nominated films that depict U.S. slavery. Below is my partial list. What else should we add?
Jezebel nominated for Best Picture. Did it have any
memorable scenes of slavery? (I’m sure it did, but I don’t remember).
“Gone with the Wind” (1939)
The Alamo (1960)
The battle over the Alamo was not a fight for freedom, as
Hollywood loves to portray it. In fact, it was the opposite. Texas was slave
territory and residents ferociously resisted Mexico’s rule because it was a
free nation. John Wayne not only starred as Davy Crockett, but he directed
“The Alamo,” too, staging a ridiculously overblown campaign for
Oscars that looked as desperate as the real Alamo fight. Wayne’s drive proved
to be just as doomed. Despite seven nominations, “The Alamo” won only
one Academy Award: Best Sound. However, it successfully nabbed a bid for Best
Picture over “Psycho” and “Spartacus,” causing uproar among
many Hollywood Oscarwatchers.
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935, 1962)
Two versions “Mutiny” have been nominated for
Best Picture: the 1935 rendition directed by Frank Lloyd starring Charles
Laughton and Clark Gable, and Lewis Milestone’s 1962 version starring Marlon
Brando and Trevor Howard. Little slavery appears overtly in the film, but it’s
the purpose of its plot. The Bounty is on a mission to transport breadfruit to
Jamaica, where it can be grown easily as a cheap food source for slaves.
Glory (1989) — Denzel Washington wins supporting actor
as Silas Trip
Armistad (1997) – Among its four nominations was Anthony
Hopkins as U.S. President John Quincy Adams, who defends a gang of mutinous
slaves in court
Lincoln (2012) – Spielberg’s film about Lincoln’s
struggle to enact the 13th amendment
Django Unchained (2012) – nominated for Best Picture.
Christoph Waltz wins supporting actor in an upsetOctober 21, 2013 at 11:53 am #116032
“Beloved” underperformed, but it was nominated for Best Costume Design.
“Song of the South” is technically post-Civil War, but it has the stink of slavery all over it. It won Best Original Song.October 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm #116033
Young Mr Lincoln
Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Raintree CountyOctober 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm #116034
Young Mr Lincoln
Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Nice additions! Do you have some thoughts to add about these films — specific scenes/ characters you thought compelling?October 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm #116035
Jezebel had scenes depicting slavery, but they were few and far between.
Christoph Waltz winning wasn’t an upset.October 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm #116036
I’d have to check on these –
it is peripheral to Jezebel, but I think she had her personal household slaves, and their status is taken for granted even more than in GWtW.
For the two early Lincoln films, don’t remember specifically, but both had references to Lincoln’s early awareness of slavery.
There are at least two black actresses listed for Raintree in IMDb, neither was credited, one specifically listed as a maid; they likely were both slaves.
Theresa Harris is credited in Jezebel as a maid (read slave), Eddie “Rochester” Anderson also in the film.
The overall point is that when slavery has come up in most prominent films, it was usually in the background and accepted as part of life and not that big a deal.October 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm #116037
Do you want pre-abolition films exclusively?
If not, films like The Help and To Kill A Mockingbird deal with slavery but not in the time period of the other films you’ve mentioned. Race prejudice in general is also a primary point in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for though.October 21, 2013 at 9:05 pm #116038
“1776” was nominated for cinematographyOctober 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm #116039
Cloud Atlas. All manner of slaves in that gorgeous film.October 21, 2013 at 10:11 pm #116040
Cloud Atlas didn’t receive any Oscar nomintions, however, despite being due some..