Oscars 2014: Black On Gay On Black

LemonWade’s Oscarologist, Rex Okpodu, has looked at the response to the current crop of Oscar-bait movies, and files this report: It must be just a coincidence that the tenure of first African-American President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone, should come with a whole slew of contenders in Best Picture, Directing, and the acting categories which are non-white or which center on minority issues. For Best Picture, some possible nominees might include: “12 Years A Slave” (currently wowing the critics as this year’s indie favorite), “Gravity,” “Fruitvale Station” and “The Butler” (currently doing excellent box office). Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” and the Tom Hanks-starring “Captain Phillips” might also figure in the voting.

The directing category could see Lee Daniels, the openly gay African-American helmer of “The Butler,” against another black director, Britain’s Steve McQueen (“12 Years”), as well as former Oscar heavyweights Joel and Ethan Coen (“Inside Llewyn Davis”) and Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”).

Best actor looks like a race between Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) and Matthew McConaughey, as a HIV-infected straight guy who reforms his earlier homophobic ways in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Also contenders: Robert Redford (“All is Lost”), Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips”), Ralph Fiennes (playing Charles Dickens in “The Invisible Woman”), and possibly Idris Elba playing Nelson Mandela in “Long Walk to Freedom.”

Best actress contenders include Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”), Felicity Jones (“The Invisible Woman”), and the perennial Meryl Streep, for “August: Osage County.”

Supporting-actress contenders are Oprah Winfrey for “The Butler,” Octavia Spencer for “Fruitvale Station” and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave.” Vaulting to the front in the supporting-actor category is Jared Leto, as a drag queen in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

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