Originally released last year, the adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half Of A Yellow Sun boasts a loaded cast, but unfortunately, it doesn’t maximize its potential. What results is a historical romance that can’t get a grasp on its own history.
Well, that was a lot to take in. Some of the highlights:
Maybe the night’s sentimental favorite, Lupita Nyong’o, won the Best Supporting Actress award for her work on 12 Years A Slave, which went on to win Best Picture.
John Ridley also won Best Adapted Script for his work on 12 Years, though … was it us, or was there some shade going between him and director Steve McQueen?
Robert Lopez, a Filipino-American, won Best Original Song along with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez for “Let It Go,” from Frozen.
Mexican-born Alfonso Cuarón, who some felt was snubbed for the Best Director award after Children of Men, made good Sunday and won for Gravity.
Cis-hetero actor Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor for playing a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club, and seemed to omit mentioning the trans community during his far-flung acceptance speech. As Autostraddle notes, it’s not like he can claim ignorance of his actions at this point.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments and check out the full storify below, but under the cut, some video, and some more observations from the evening.
Warning: This review contains spoilers, and discussion of abuse, violence, and rape.
Normally, knowing that a story has a “happy ending” helps to ease the burden of getting through something horrific. 12 Years a Slave is not that movie. It can’t be that movie with the way Steve McQueen dispenses of the conventional methods to show the passing of time. This could be 12 months, 12 weeks, or 12 years and we wouldn’t have known; I even lost track of how long I’d been in the theatre. There’s no clear changing of the seasons; no transition from spring to summer or fall, just once the point made that a crop of cotton has been lost.
Time is marked by the passing of violence rather than the passing of seasons, and it blurs and stretches and bunches together in places as it must have for Solomon Northup (a triumphant Chiwetel Ejiofor) himself. By not providing the viewer with any demarcation of time McQueen effectively puts us in his lead character’s position. How long Solomon’s been enslaved doesn’t matter and there’s no concrete end. Just one dehumanising experience to live through after another.
The debate regarding Doctor Who and race and gender reopened in a major way on Saturday when Matt Smith announced he will leave the show after this year’s Christmas special, meaning the search is on for the Twelth Doctor — an especially crucial role, according to series canon, since this would be the Doctor’s final regeneration.
I met Isaiah while I was staying at the home of a mutual friend who seems to gather all who are Black and brilliant into his orbit. Isaiah being a native Baltimorean, I was able to chat with him about the physical and socio-economic layout of what I could see of the city when I was there for the Facing Race conference in November. Considering that he’s this week’s Crush, you know I find Isaiah rather amazing, and I’m all about sharing the amazing in this column, right?
So, here’s Isaiah, in his own words…
Isaiah, my first question is: whatcha studying at Stanford that pulled you way away from the East Coast?
First, I have to say: it is such a pleasure to be in conversation with you again! I so deeply appreciate the work that you are doing at Racialiciousand, indeed, in the world. To answer the question: I am currently a doctoral candidate in Theater and Performance Studies (T&PS) at Stanford, where I am in the throes of writing a dissertation entitled, The Afterwards of Blackness: Race, Time and Contemporary Performance. The project begins with the premise that one of the more urgent questions to emerge in what has been theorized as the “post-soul,” the “post-black,” and/or the “post-civil rights” era is: what is the time of blackness? Attending to examples of expressive art, I analyze the aesthetic strategies and practices that several contemporary black cultural producers deploy to dramatize the deeply intertwined relationship of blackness and time and, correspondingly, to critique concepts of normative or modern temporality. The project, in many ways,is reflective of my broader teaching and research interests in twentieth and twenty-first century dramatic literature, theory, and criticism; performance studies; African American studies; (black) queer studies; and popular culture. It also evidences my continued engagements with both theory and practice: I have been fortunate to direct a number of the plays that I take up in the dissertation.
During its original run, some people called The Shadow Line “the British Wire,” which isn’t quite fair. In fact, it’s more accurate to call Chiwetel Ejiofor’s seven-part miniseries, currently airing on DirecTV’s Audience Network, an appropriately somber example of British gangster fiction done right. Some spoilers are under the cut