The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host its 86th Oscars Academy Awards ceremony next year. If entertainment industry insiders’ predictions turn out to be true they’ll also be host to an unprecedented number of black nominees in the best actor in a leading role category.
We haven’t had more than one black nominee for Best Actor since 2006, when Forest Whitaker took the Oscar home for his role in “The Last King of Scotland” and Will Smith was nominated for his role in “The Pursuit of Happyness.” It also happened once before when Denzel Washington (“Training Day”) and Smith (Ali) were nominated in 2001.
But the 2014 Oscars may mark the first time in history when more than two black actors are nominated in top acting category for males.
[Whitaker is] back in the mix this year for the Weinstein-produced The Butler, an era-spanning drama from director Lee Daniels (Precious) that casts Whitaker as a butler who served several presidents while butting heads with his fiery activist son (David Oyelowo). And then there’s Fruitvale Station, a Sundance hit that also bowed this week at Cannes. Based on a true story, the film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant, a young man killed in a controversial, racially tinged 2009 shooting.
“The Butler” trailer.
Buchanan also points out Weinstein will also release “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” starring Idris Elba. The film is based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography with the same name.
Director Steve McQueen’s upcoming film “Twelve Years a Slave” is also expected to be a strong Oscar contender.
In related news/predictions, Oprah Winfrey is also getting best actress buzz for her role in Lee Daniels’s “The Butler.”
Tese are all predictions and a lot could change before the next Oscars ceremony in February 2014. And you never know who the Academy will vote for, especially when you consider the membership is nearly 94 percent white and 77 percent male.