This was a great year for Black cinema and if the Academy's been paying attention, then nominees for the Oscars could be incredibly diverse.
Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures, Loving, and The 13th are just a few of the amazing movies that came out this year that include Black directors, writers, and actors. With such poignant and diverse storytelling, many of these films are earning tons of praise and generating serious Oscar buzz, which is why the African American Film Critics Association says #OscarsSoWhite could be put on hold this year.
"By any measurement, it’s been an exceptional year for Blacks in film. From comedies to high-quality dramas and documentaries, 2016 will forever represent a bonanza year for Black cinema and all cinema really,'' says Gil Robertson, AAFCA co-founder and president.
It's not just films like Fences and Moonlight that have done well this year, either. Movies like Ride Along 2 and Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween did incredibly well at the box office, making 2016 a year where Black cinema thrived critically and financially.
Shawn Edwards, AAFCA co-founder, added that this year should be big for Black films at the Oscars: "I am going to go out on a limb and predict that we will see a Black actor nominated in every acting category and that at least four Black-themed films will be nominated for Best Picture, regardless of the final tally."
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Robertson added, "We are both confident that we’ll see a record number of Black nominees when Awards Season kicks into high gear. The coming award nominations are going to definitely put a pause on #OscarsSoWhite this year."
While #OscarsSoWhite may be put on hold this year, Robertson wonders if it will continue: "It’s undeniable that the studios have responded admirably to the tremendous outcry from the African American community through its delivery of the films that we’ve seen this year. But what about next year and the year after that? Unfortunately the question that we must ask with every watershed year is ‘how long will it last?’"
Still, AAFCA believes this year's diversity will continue and more people and groups will be represented. "We at AAFCA are extremely hopeful that these 2016 Black films will have a domino effect in providing platform opportunities for films that represent other communities as well," he said.