I've gotten an inkling how people feel and I've asked women in my sphere, but I would like to get a more national perspective.

I saw "Monster's Ball" and examined it from different perspectives. As an actor, I understand why Halle took the role. There are so few roles for black women and this one was a showcase. As a film buff, I understand what the movie was trying to accomplish; especially with the sex scene.

But as a black woman, I equivocated. Did she do as more harm by perpetuating an old stereotype about black women and our sexuality? What about the idea of "if a black woman wants anything in life, you better get yourself a white man".

What do the sistahs (and for that matter, the brothas) think about this? Did Halle help us or set us back?
Original Post
I didn't think that she did more harm than good, simply for the fact that she had the guts to act in a role that people thought she was too pretty to portray. Aside from winning the Oscar, she did an awesome act. I didn't think she could act that well, especially when she was spanking her overweight son...brutal.


IMO, there are a lot more worse acts that women, regardless of race, have done far worse than what Halle did.

For example:

If somebody is upset at Halle, then why don't they also get upset with Thandie Newton? I mean, every leading man that she had, with the exception of Danny Glover in "Beloved," was with a white male. Three of those roles, she played a slave.

Plus, what about Li'l Kim? She's not exactly Miss Jane Pittman herself.

The video women on the rap music videos that play on BET Uncut at 3am...wouldn't they be more worse?

And what about other movies that had sex acts that were WAY more graphic than "Monster's Ball?"

"9 1/2 Weeks"--scenes of bondage.

"Jason's Lyric"---Jada Pinkett Smith (then single) had a sex scene with Allen Payne where they were making love in a flower bed in some park near the ghetto. WTH???? Roll Eyes

What place does any of us know where black folk in the 'hood knows a park where we have sex in a field of flowers outside IN BROAD DAYLIGHT??

And let's not forget "Angel Heart" where certain parts of the sex scenes of Mickey Rourke and Lisa (Denise Huxtable) Bonet were snipped off because they were TOO graphic. Made Bill Cosby kick her off "A Different World."


One more thing, I have a "devil's advocate" question:

Had the director replaced Billy Bob Thornton, who played Halle's love interest in "Monster's Ball" with a black actor like Taye Diggs or Omar Epps or with another white actor but a more attractive actor like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Mel Gibson, would it have been any "less" controversial?
I didn't appreciate it. Besides the real question is, can she really act or is she just a high paid.....well you fill in the blank.
The part was originally offered to Angela Bassett and she turned it down. Keep in mind Ms. Bassett-Vance is Julliard trained and Mrs. Berry-Justice-Benet was just Ms. Ohio.......

Just a thought...or two.....
I don't think we give Halle enough credit. It's hard to take her seriously because she's pretty, but I think she takes her acting roles very seriously. "Queen" was recently run in my area and her talent is more than evident in that movie (the story of Alex Haley's half white grandmother). I also thought she was good as Dorothy Dandridge.

She may not be Juilliard trained, but she certainly has a long resume and has no problem getting parts in major movies. I know some would say that's because she is light skinned or half white, but Halle has made it clear that she considers herself a black woman and is making strides for black women. I applaud her.
I want to also add, that although Angela Bassett may be Julliard trained, she's not taking any risky roles, outside of historical figures. She's becoming a female version of Sidney Poitier, only playing heroic roles.

It's somewhat a good thing, but if one is an actor/actress, we all know that for every hero, there is a villain. And not every role that an actor gets is a heroic one.

[This message was edited by Huey on June 20, 2003 at 02:08 PM.]
quote:
Originally posted by Yssys:
I didn't appreciate it. Besides the real question is, can she really act or is she just a high paid.....well you fill in the blank.
The part was originally offered to Angela Bassett and she turned it down. Keep in mind Ms. Bassett-Vance is Julliard trained and Mrs. Berry-Justice-Benet was just Ms. Ohio.......

Just a thought...or two.....


Here's another thought...Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge was nominated against Halle. Nicole's role that she played was a high-priced (fill in the blank) in "Moulin Rouge." Halle played a waitress.

Now if we want to talk about actresses playing hookers, or being hookerish:

Elizabeth Shue, nominated for best actress in "Leaving Las Vegas."

Mira Sorvino, won Best Supporting Actress for her role as a prostitute in "Mighty Aphrodite."

I'm not trying to deliberately tick anyone off here, I'm just trying to figure out why after over a year of her winning an Oscar, there's still animosity?

Now I'll admit Ms. Bassett was robbed, denied, bamboozled in the Oscars when she lost Best Actress to Holly Hunter in "The Piano." Whoopi Goldburg was too in "The Color Purple," which I think we could have one at least two or three awards if the NAACP didn't boycott the movie during the Academy Awards.

But that's another story. Anyway, my point is what role had Halle portrayed that would be considered whorish, compared to other actresses who have done MUCH MUCH MORE nastier stuff on screen? Is the role nasty if sex is involved alone, or is it "nasty" when the leading man is white?

[This message was edited by Huey on June 20, 2003 at 09:05 PM.]
Huey,
I think you miss the point. I don't feel the main issues are whether this role was "nasty" or whether other celebrities take on "nasty roles", but whether this particular role should have garnered the entertainment industry's highest honor.

In other words...if in the history of the academy awards a black woman has never won for best actress, what made halle's character grinding on a white man the best ever example of black female acting?

was it all that?

is that all we can aspire to?
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
Huey,
I think you miss the point. I don't feel the main issues are whether this role was "nasty" or whether other celebrities take on "nasty roles", but whether this particular role should have garnered the entertainment industry's highest honor.

In other words...if in the history of the academy awards a black woman has never won for best actress, what made halle's character grinding on a white man the best ever example of black female acting?

was it all that?

is that all we can aspire to?


No, it's not all of us can aspire to. Didn't I said that there have been women who played hookers and won Oscars as well, despite that Halle didn't portray one, contrary to belief? Yes she had sex, but Halle's not the first to do it, and she won't be the last.

She did more in the film besides grinding on a white man.

BTW, no one didn't answer my questions. There have been great examples of black female performances on film and have been nominated. Outside of racism, lack of support at the box office or due to petty boycotts, I've no idea why they were denied. Diana Ross was nominated twice and lost twice. At that time, there were fewer black folks then that were nominated to actually vote for another black person's performance.

Maybe no one thought that Halle could do it and she pulled it off. They thought she was too pretty to act in that role. Plus, did anyone thought that someone who's valued by her looks, could go from beating her child profusely without remorse then cry her eyes out seeing her son's body at the morgue?

And I don't want hear some tangent that she won because she's biracial or that she's light-skinned. Ann-Marie Johnson is also light-skinned but she's didn't get an Emmy for playing Virgil Tibbs' wife on the tv version of "In The Heat of the Night," so being light-skinned shouldn't be an issue.

Whoopi Goldburg was nominated for Best Actress, before Angela and Halle. She could've been the first one, but we (or should I say the NAACP) messed that up by boycotting the film.

Why didn't they boycott the novel to keep from being a film in the first place if they had a problem with it? Maybe because they didn't want to have a white director making an award-winning film about pre-Civil Rights black characters that may not be heroic (e.g. Mister mistreating Celie and her sister, Harpo abusing his wife).


Halle did more than just grind on a white man. She was on the verge on being evicted. Her character was drunk and Billy Bob's character was drunk when they were alone. They both lost a spouse and a son each. And I remind everyone that she was separated from her husband on death row for 10 years.

If you hadn't had sex with anyone, including your spouse, for ten years or more, you'll grind anybody...especially if you're intoxicated.

I know my answer is long, but I'm here to prove my point. I didn't miss it, I'm tearing it out the frame. I'm still ticked off that Morgan Freeman was nominated for "Driving Miss Daisy" (albeit a Pulitzer Prize winning play turned Oscar-winning film), but didn't get nominated for "Lean On Me."

Do you want to know my theory why Denzel (and more importantly) Halle won their Oscars? Four words: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

After "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won for 4 Oscars out of 10 nominations (a movie with an all-Asian cast and not have a single white person in the cast and not one English word spoken), then they couldn't have an excuse to deny black people their due, which may be
the reason why Denzel and Halle won and Sidney received an Oscar lifetime acheivement award. If the Academy would've done a "A Color Purple" and denied "Crouching Tiger" awards, not only they have to explain their racial judgement of denying not just blacks the Oscars, but also denying Asians as well, and the Academy would've lost its credibility.

So you know SOMEBODY BLACK had to win something big at the Oscars the following year...thus enter the unprecedented wins of Best Actor for Denzel, Best Actress for Halle and Lifetime Achievement for Mr. Poitier.

(I should add that Salma Hayek's movie "Frida" won some Oscars for this year, so now Latinos are getting props also, but I digress.)

Half of the people on the BET chatrooms/message boards who were upset that Denzel and Halle for winning awards last year, would've been MORE ticked off had they lost, no matter how non-heroic their roles were. And they're still upset to this very day.

And even IF Denzel would've won for either "Malcolm X" or "The Hurricane" or both... somebody somewhere would still be ticked off about it, because it makes his/her day to find something in the world negative simply to taint someone's victory.

And you know I'm telling the truth..."Why Denzel always get nominated for guys who go to jail? Why Malcolm/The Hurricane had to go to jail? Why black men must always have to be on 'lockdown' in order to get a Best Actor/Supporting Actor nomination?"

The criticism will never end, so I say we build from that so we can make some real movies with substance (like make an adaptation from a Toni Morrison or an E. Lynn Harris novel) and not make the "easy" buck by making these chronically self-deprecating bughetto/psuedo-romantic comedy clones. All I know is that what accolades we get (or don't get), we build on that, and keep on going. If we keep dwelling on why he or she won for this but didn't win for that, then we not going to grow, and end up going in circles.

[This message was edited by Huey on June 21, 2003 at 11:25 PM.]
Okay, since I started this . . . .

The Academy Award, while prestigious, is not awarded solely based on acting. Throughout its history, there have been many actors denied because of politics, being out of favor, or losing to someone in a lesser role who should have won years ago because they lost to someone else in a lesser role. Al Pacino won for "Scent of a Woman" but should have won for roles before. Henry Fonda should have won for "Mr. Roberts" but got his Oscar due to guilt for past snubs and he was dying. John Travolta should have won for "Pulp Fiction" but lost to Tom Hanks because Academy members could deal with the film's violence. Lauren Bacall didn't win for "The Mirror Has Two Faces" because Hollywood doesn't like Barbara Streisand. "The Color Purple" was snubbed not because of the NAACP (doubtful the Academy could care about the organization) but because Hollywood didn't like/was jealous of Spielberg. But they made up for it with awards to "Schnidler's List".

White actresses have played prostitutes and won Oscars (Jane Fonda, Mira Sorvino). However, the sex was not explicit.

Unfortunately, White actors have the luxury of a diversity of roles offered and not representing their race. Black Oscar winners have been, for the most part, stereotypes. The only notable exception has been Lou Gossett Jr.

Did Halle do a good acting job? For her, yes. But was it an Oscar worthy performance? No. Come on - she bet Dame Judith Dentch and Sissy Spacek?

A review how Hollywood works - if any black woman was going to win, it most likely was going to be Halle Berry. Very few lead roles are written with black women in mind. Most certainly there are much better actresses than Halle - the late Lynn Thigpen, Alfre Woodard, CCH Pounder, Angela Bassett. But Halle is the Negress-du-jour for whites.

Do the math.
I've done the math...

The Academy probably doesn't care about the NAACP, but the boycott certainly didn't help Spielburg's chances of getting an Oscar, now did it?

Hell yeah Halle was going to win the Oscar. Why? because Hollywood is about youth, thinness and beauty (especially toward women).

Sissy Spacek and Dame Judi Dench are both in their 50's and 60's AND already had Oscars. If they didn't, they probably would've won.

But since they both won before, the race was boiling down to either Halle, Nicole Kidman and Renee' Zellweger.

Halle was going to win because:

1. She's hot.
2. She can actually act.
3. She's not afraid to take risks and play certain controversial parts, despite her looks.
4. Most importantly, Denzel was also nominated, as well as Will Smith, Whoopi was the host.
5. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (see previous post). Somebody black was going to win that year, no matter if Jimmie Walker from "Good Times" was nominated. Now had Angela Bassett's role in the movie of "The Rosa Parks Story" was nominated and played at the box office instead of television and "Monster's Ball" went straight to cable, Angela would've been the first black woman to win Best Actress.

Nicole, who was nominated before, (and unlike Halle, she DID play the role of a "pro") wasn't going to win that year because:

1. Just divorced from Tom Cruise.
2. The Academy hates musicals, unless they're great and were successful on Broadway firstFrowne.g. "Cabaret," "Grease", "West Side Story," "Chicago.")

3. Singing hookers don't win Oscars, especially in musicals. You can either play a hooker or play a singer, but you can't do both.

And there was Renee' Zellweger's character in "Bridget Jones' Diary." She didn't have a prayer in the world to win because:

1. It was the story of the sex life of an Englishwoman.

2. Not just any story of a woman's sex life in England, it was the story of a fat chick's sex life in England.

I know a lot are ticked off, but we all know that fat and sexy do not mix in Hollywood...unless you're a guy, a billionaire and/or your name happens to be "Biggie." Maybe sexy on "The Parkers" and on "The Practice," but definitely not at the Academy Awards.

Class dismissed.
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
What makes u think Halle can act?


What makes you think she can't act?

I don't want to sound like a broken record, I've already proven that she can from my previous messages. If I hadn't, I can say without a doubt that she can definitely market herself. She's not afraid to take risks in going for roles that may not be heroic to the eyes of black people, but not all roles are going to be heroic or noble. You can't play it "safe" by playing roles that may not be stereotypical yet still empty. If you wait, you'll wait forever. So either you take a chance or you write your own scripts and make your own roles.
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
What makes u think Halle can act?


Somebody obviously thinks that she can act because she won an Oscar for best female actor. For whatever reasons Oscars are given, it's still the most prestigious award given in the entertainment industry and any actor who says they don't want one is lying. I don't think they're given out without some justification either.
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:

...I can say without a doubt that she can definitely market herself.



Huey!
at last a point upon which we can agree Smile

I have nothing personal against Halle. She is successful and attractive. I do however, find her acting abilities to be average at best. I don't find her role in QUEEN to be much of a stretch. Her accents in Losing Isaiah and Monster's ball were unconvincing. She allowed herself to be strung up with a rope and virtually lynched in Swordfish and her trilogy of white man's toy movies (BAPS, Bullworth, & the Rich Man's wife) did little to inspire me. She is beautiful and stylish, but not great at the craft of acting. I am pleased she is able to build a body of work and financial security. Halle is a great celebrity, not a great actress.
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
I've done the math...

The Academy probably doesn't care about the NAACP, but the boycott certainly didn't help Spielburg's chances of getting an Oscar, now did it?
The boycott occurred after the Academy body voted. I'm quite sure there are not enough NAACP/Academy members to influence the voting process.

Hell yeah Halle was going to win the Oscar. Why? because Hollywood is about youth, thinness and beauty (especially toward women).
Youth/Beauty/Thinness and acting don't necessarily mean an Oscar. Kathy Bates, Whoopi Goldberg, Sally Fields, and Louise Fletcher disprove your theory.

Sissy Spacek and Dame Judi Dench are both in their 50's and 60's AND already had Oscars. If they didn't, they probably would've won.
Having won an Oscar is a consideration but it doesn't preclude winning another. Tom Hanks won in back-to-back years. Katherine Hepburn has four. Elizabeth Taylor has two.

But since they both won before, the race was boiling down to either Halle, Nicole Kidman and Renee' Zellweger.

Halle was going to win because:

1. She's hot.
2. She can actually act.
3. She's not afraid to take risks and play certain controversial parts, despite her looks.

Based on those criteria, Zellweger and Kidman could have won.


4. Most importantly, Denzel was also nominated, as well as Will Smith, Whoopi was the host.
Irrevelant. The Academy could have just awarded Denzel and called it a day.

5. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (see previous post). Somebody black was going to win that year, no matter if Jimmie Walker from "Good Times" was nominated. Now had Angela Bassett's role in the movie of "The Rosa Parks Story" was nominated and played at the box office instead of television and "Monster's Ball" went straight to cable, Angela would've been the first black woman to win Best Actress.
Again, irrelevant. Because the Asian got in, Blacks surely must be next?


Nicole, who was nominated before, (and unlike Halle, she DID play the role of a "pro") wasn't going to win that year because:
1. Just divorced from Tom Cruise.

Kidman may very well have gotten the Oscar this year for the sympathy factor.

2. The Academy hates musicals, unless they're great and were successful on Broadway firstFrowne.g. "Cabaret," "Grease", "West Side Story," "Chicago.")

3. Singing hookers don't win Oscars, especially in musicals. You can either play a hooker or play a singer, but you can't do both.

And there was Renee' Zellweger's character in "Bridget Jones' Diary." She didn't have a prayer in the world to win because:
1. It was the story of the sex life of an Englishwoman.

"The English Patient" and "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"

2. Not just any story of a woman's sex life in England, it was the story of a _fat chick's_ sex life in England.

I know a lot are ticked off, but we all know that fat and sexy do not mix in Hollywood...unless you're a guy, a billionaire and/or your name happens to be "Biggie." Maybe sexy on "The Parkers" and on "The Practice," but definitely not at the Academy Awards.

Class dismissed.


Halle's acting is suspect. She's better than J. Lo (imho) and we see how well J. Lo is doing. Halle has just done a tremendous marketing campaign and the Academy occasionally loves to pat itself on the back for its "liberalness". Witness - "Midnight Cowboy", Oscar wins for Issac Hayes, Prince, and Eminem, and Michael Moore.

The bell has rung
Well THANK GOD we both agree that she's better than J. Lo, otherwise this would be a very lonnnnnng discussion.
I didn't see the movie, but she should have received just for having "sex" with Billy Bob Thornton and not regurgitating all over her self while "performing". I'm still into animated movies. Spirit, etc., fit my mentality. The last movie I saw and enjoyed was "Bridges of Madison County". Couldn't stop yelling for Meryl to get into that truck while Clint was waiting at the stop light in the rain. That's about it for me and $10.00 movies. I liked the HANDSOME movie stars of yesteryear. Now everyone looks the same with enhanced body parts. What's that all about? Either you have it or you don't and most DON'T!!
Hey all...

I just saw this movie again and I found another reason not to like this movie...

Why is it that a redneck rehabilitated racist is portrayed as being able to be more tender and loving toward Halle than a black man?

you mean ain't no black men that can treat halle as good as ole billy bob thorton?

you mean humping a Klansman is a step up from loving a black man?
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
Hey all...

I just saw this movie again and I found another reason not to like this movie...

Why is it that a redneck rehabilitated racist is portrayed as being able to be more tender and loving toward Halle than a black man?

you mean ain't no black men that can treat halle as good as ole billy bob thorton?

you mean humping a Klansman is a step up from loving a black man?


Oh honey, they packed a whopper of a 'would-be' message in that movie! And the fact is, black women will have to negotiate our own well-being, and I like the deal offered with 2 exceptions, one, no one is giving us the wealth, the wealth and prominence is due us, and two, we'll pick the scum worth removing and the method thereof..... thumbsup

Halle is a sister, bi-ethnic though her origin she is a sister, and truth be told, the bi-ethnic sister speaks out more on racism than the ones with 2 black parents. She is very talented. In every movie she's been in, she's shown that she can act, I never thought otherwise or thought her as Hollywood or whoever is inferring, 'too pretty to play the roles she's played.' What do they think the women living in such circumstances look like? In other words, that's an insult to African/American women.

[This message was edited by Prophetessofrage on October 28, 2003 at 01:50 PM.]
Being the devil's advocate for right now, would "Monster's Ball" be less controversial had they replaced Billy Bob Thorton with either a more handsome white actor (like Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise) or with a black actor like Morris Chestnut or Omar Epps?
Huey u seem to think sistas are that shallow?

if it had been a black actor, halle would not have won an oscar.
It's not about being shallow, it's about being consistent. Now if I was going to talk about sisters being shallow in a movie, I can easily talk about "Waiting To Exhale," when Lela Rochon's character fell in bed with that fat guy. She didn't even like the guy, had sex with him anyway, and then have the nerve to complain how he wasn't good. If that's not shallow, I don't know what is.

That one sex scene with Halle and Billy Bob has been talked about like it was the unforgivable sin. Has everyone have amnesia?

Remember "Jason's Lyric" when Allan Payne and Jada Pinkett had the "controversial" sex scene? By today's standards is just as shocking as the one in "Monster's Ball" as far as I'm concerned.

How many black folks that we know living in the 'hood, that have wanton sex in a flower bed at a park (where kids play) IN BROAD DAYLIGHT? How realistic is that?

I'm not against black love, but how can anyone hate Monster's Ball and love Jason's Lyric? They both have ignorant parts.

When Halle and Billy Bob had their scene, their characters were both drunk, they each lost a son, and were indoors at night. Leticia haven't had sex for 10 years b/c her husband was on death row. Are we supposed to be surprised that she wanted somebody to "make her feel good?"

Yet no one here has talked about the white hooker who slept with Billy Bob one night, and then with his son the night after. She was the hooker, not Leticia.

I'm not gonna say that Halle's a better actress than Angela Bassett, but she certainly can market herself better than Angela Bassett. You must give her credit for that. Not every role will be heroic, someone has to play a role that's not a hero sometimes. If that was the case for rap music (a whole 180 deg.), rap producers would be promoting Will Smith and PM Dawn, instead of 50 Cent and Eminem.

Once you make a film, you got to market/promote it as if it's the best thing since sliced bread. An actor/actress (esp. someone like Angela Bassett and Samuel Jackson) can't afford to just say some lines and then when the filming is done, just twiddle their thumbs and say, "Gee, I hope someone watches my movie and I get a nomination." You're the product, the title and the corporation. You have to believe that you're among the best of the best.

And refusing to play a role b/c the character isn't the most heroic or most noble, isn't going to pay the bills, nor give you critical acclaim. An actor must stretch to show his/her range. You can't be afraid to play different characters.
Huey,

I don't think you quite understand where i'm coming from. Furthermore since there are no racist, dick weilding white men in either Waiting To Exhale or Jason's Lyric, I'm not sure of the relevance. Both of those movies featured black men and black women attempting to be in relationship. Monster's Ball is about race and racism.

The movie seems to make several statements, not just the sex scene...

shouldn't you feel some sense of indignation that the movie seems to suggest that even a racist redneck hick can love a black woman better than a black man can?

Remember the scene where billy bob tells halle he's going to take care of her? Her response is something like "good because I need to be taken care of" Is that implying a black man isn't as capable of being loving/protective/caring as a racist redneck hick?

Furthermore, why is this black woman capable of loving the same man who has electrocuted her husband?

Can we discuss this movie and it's nuances beyond the sex scene? There are deeper issues at play.
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
It's not about being shallow, it's about being consistent. Now if I was going to talk about sisters being shallow in a movie, I can easily talk about "Waiting To Exhale," when Lela Rochon's character fell in bed with that fat guy. She didn't even like the guy, had sex with him anyway, and then have the nerve to complain how he wasn't good. If that's not shallow, I don't know what is.

That one sex scene with Halle and Billy Bob has been talked about like it was the unforgivable sin. Has everyone have amnesia?




let me clarify: I asked whether you thought the black female posters here were shallow enough to accept this movie as the best ever female performance if a black male had been substituted...not whether this role was a shallow role.

Let's get beyond the raunchy sex scene...

is this the best example of female acting this year?

is this the best example of black female acting EVER?

What message is to be gleaned from this movie about love? black love? the value of black men?

If you wanna focus on the sex, that's on you
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
Huey,

I don't think you quite understand where i'm coming from. Furthermore since there are no racist, dick weilding white men in either Waiting To Exhale or Jason's Lyric, I'm not sure of the relevance. Both of those movies featured black men and black women attempting to be in relationship. Monster's Ball is about race and racism.

The movie seems to make several statements, not just the sex scene...

shouldn't you feel some sense of indignation that the movie seems to suggest that even a racist redneck hick can love a black woman better than a black man can?

Huey-- "I didn't get that from the movie. I saw a racist white man whose trying to change his ways, trying to love a black woman without getting stereotyped as having a "brown sugar" fetish. I didn't like the way Billy Bob (Hank) mistreated Mos Def's sons playing with his only son, who later commits suicide.

Here's another point. The racist father was the cancer in Billy Bob's family. He drove his wife, his son's wife and his only grandson to suicide (which explains the 3 tombstones in the backyard at the end of the movie). Why do you think he had to get rid of his father? Because he couldn't get to know Leticia and have him in the same house. He probably would've taken his own life as well. I didn't feel that Hank could love a sister better than a black man could. Love isn't a contest. It's about two people hurt and alone who find each other."

Remember the scene where billy bob tells halle he's going to take care of her? Yes, I do. Her response is something like "good because I need to be taken care of" Is that implying a black man isn't as capable of being loving/protective/caring as a racist redneck hick?

H: "It doesn't mean (not intentionally) a racist white guy like Hank is more capable to take care of Leticia than her late husband, although unfortunately at the end of the film he does. Race doesn't have anything to do it, or at least it shouldn't. If I thought it implied that, I wouldn't have watched it in the first place. And yes, she needs to be taken care of. She lost her husband, son and her house in one week. Hank was no white knight. Come on, he had three of his family members buried in his backyard, all committed suicide."

Furthermore, why is this black woman capable of loving the same man who has electrocuted her husband?

First of all, the man was on death row.
And secondly to be honest, he found out that she was the wife (or widow) of the man he electrocuted before she found out that he was in charge of the electrocution.

Can we discuss this movie and it's nuances beyond the sex scene? There are deeper issues at play.



Yes we can, but how can we discuss it beyond the movie beyond the sex scene if that scene is the one thing or one of the things that so many are stuck on?

[This message was edited by Huey on November 11, 2003 at 02:01 PM.]
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:

let me clarify: I asked whether you thought the black female posters here were shallow enough to accept this movie as the best ever female performance if a black male had been substituted...not whether this role was a shallow role.

Let's get beyond the raunchy sex scene...

is this the best example of female acting this year?

is this the best example of black female acting EVER?

What message is to be gleaned from this movie about love? black love? the value of black men?

If you wanna focus on the sex, that's on you



Let me answer these in order:

1 & 2. Is this the best female acting (black, white, or otherwise) this year? No, but not what you think. First, the role was 2 years ago, not this year. Second, there were a plethora of movies with great female roles better than Leticia, and a truckload of terrible movies with sorry female roles.

Have there been better this year? Yes (If you've seen "The Others," "Bend It Like Beckham," "Big Fat Wedding," "Feast Of All Saints," "Beloved," "Sounder," "the Color Purple", "What's Love Got To Do With It?" etc.)


Have there been worse? YES compared to "Kingdom Come," "Rollerwheelz," "The Brothers," "Dude, Where's My Car?", "Waiting to Exhale," "Boomerrang," "Booty Call," all "House Party" sequels, etc.

3. What message is to be gleaned about love? Love will come out of nowhere, where you least expect it, and in many different packages or wrappers. Heck, that's any love story, if it's told right or not.

As far as black love? You may have to find better films than that like "A Warm December" or "Love Jones." If we need one single film to show an example of black love, then something is horribly wrong.
As far as the value of black men in movies compared to real life, they're pretty much neck and neck now. It's too few and far between to find high value for black men, or black people in both film and in real life. It's not consistent in both cases.

As far as shows, the black couple have to crack on each other or come to the point of cursing each other out to get in the mood. Maybe showing "love" toward each other, (romantic, agape or otherwise) is considered weak to the younger generation.


I don't like to repeat myself, but no one didn't directly answer my question the first time I've posted on this thread.

I said that after "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won four Academy Awards at the 2000 Oscars, I knew that the year after that, SOMEBODY black were going to be nominated and win. Those who sidestepped my point on the thread (and I'm not naming names), refused to see the validity of an Asian film with 10 nominations and winning 4 Oscars with black folks.

The point is that if CT,HD didn't win a single award (like The Color Purple was denied), the press would've had a field day watching the Academy members squirm in their seats, explaining to the NAACP and other racial/ethnic organizations why blacks, Asians and other people of color aren't being nominated or winning at the Oscars. I don't care if Gary Coleman was nominated, some black actor was going to win an Oscar the following year, and two of them did...

Now Halle and Denzel are both in the history books. They're in the World Book Encyclopedia, each with his/her own bio. It's done. What do we do now? Do we strive to make better movies vs. make the same old ghetto fabulous 'hood films?

And for the record, I don't have focus on the sex scene. I'm not the only one. So many have other than myself. And for shallowness, there's not a single female here that would go that route. They're too intelligent for that, but outside this site, negrospiritual, you would be freaking surprised.

There's several threads like this one in the movie section on the BET messageboards. Some have condemned Halle as no longer black, and how she had single-handedly embarrassed the ENTIRE black race, particularly black women (as if the E! Hollywood story on Lil Kim is something to be proud of). If they didn't like the movie, then just say you didn't like it. They didn't have to banish her out of the black community.

None of those people who denigrated her, didn't care that skinheads and KKK members hacked and vandalized her website for winning Best Actress. They're no better than the skinheads as far as I'm concerned.

And some of them were actually happy that she's divorced. They actually blame the sex scene in MB, and letting Adrian Brody kiss her, as the reason why her marriage had broken up.

Negrospiritual, I'm a guy. If I'm nominated for Best Actor and I win and Halle is presenting the award, I WILL kiss Halle. winkgrin She's lucky that Adrian Brody won, b/c if Jack Nicholson would've won instead, Halle would've conceived Jack's child on stage.


This thread is getting out of hand. If we're blaming a sex scene from a movie as grounds for a divorce (and not even add that Eric Benet is having affairs b/c he's "addicted" to sex) and be happy that the couple is breaking up is just plain sick and inexcusable. Regardless if you love or hate the film.

So what do we do now? Keep making the same straight-to-video crap year after year or do we make original films that we can proud to show inside and outside the 'hood, both nationwide and worldwide?

[This message was edited by Huey on November 12, 2003 at 08:02 AM.]
are those the only choices we have? We have to be unblinkingly accepting of all movies with black characters or suffer the dreaded hood movies?

Why is it anathema to critique black characters in a film? Isn't that what thinking people do?


You've added a lot of stuff that I didn't say in your response and i'll be back to dissect it later...

I would add that it's fascinating that I was all indignant for brothers because this highly lauded film, this award winning film, this best example of black female acting-ever- film, seemed to suggest that Leticia was better off helping a recovering racist work out his demons, than being in the arms of a loving black man.

silly me
Yea, I must say again, I didn't appreciate her winning the Oscar for this role. There are black actresses who've played better roles than this. I might add that Denzel Washington, who is one of the best actors today, won the 'Best Leading Actor' Oscar that same night for 'Training Day', where he portrays a drug dealing, adulterous, narcotics cop. Does anyone else see something wrong here? It's downright shameful!

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
And I must also add that even if Denzel would've won for BOTH Malcolm X and The Hurricane, many of us still wouldn't be satisfied.

Why? Because somebody would say "Why Denzel have to win all the awards? Why not Lawrence Fishburne? Or Samuel L. Jackson? Or Don Cheadle? Why can't they win anything?"

If not that, someone would ask "Why can't a brother get nominated without being a slave or going to jail? Come on, look at the list?"

Malcolm X
The Hurricane
The Shawshank Redemption
The Green Mile
Cry Freedom
Glory

Okay, Denzel wins his 2nd Oscar playing a bad guy. He played against his type, i.e. a good guy. Everyone knows, or should know that an actor will become typecast to play the same type of character, which becomes old sooner or later. Sidney Poitier doesn't act as used to b/c he's typecasted. Thank goodness he's directing. An actor should be able to play more than one type of character.

And what's up with naivete? Denzel plays a crooked cop in L.A., wins an award, and some of us get upset and act like there's no crooked cops in the LAPD. bs

And just forget about the horrors of the LA 1992 Riots, the OJ and Rodney King trials and the crooked officers involved?

I may understand why many are upset that Halle won for Best Actress and being the first black woman to win it. But upset for Denzel for playing a certain type of cop in LA that we all know that exists in real life?
That's really shameful!
quote:
Originally posted by Yssys:

Does anyone else see something wrong here? It's downright shameful!



Let's be real. That's how white America wants to see us. Anything that deviates from that in the way of strong characters etc. is not accepted. Halle and Denzel won because they skillfully portrayed of characters that white folks "want" to see us play. Think about it. What did the first black woman get an Oscar for? Playing a maid in "Gone With The Wind"? Roll Eyes


There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life
that is less than the one you are capable of living. - Mandela
Or is it just easier to play a bad guy than a good one, therefore we do it better?

I have long had the conviction that we humans cannot depict goodness very well. Usually it's syrup or milquetoast, but somehow weak. It's just not in us most of the time to play a full-throated strong good guy. Our concept of good is limited and strangled.

Villians on the other hand are much esier to play. We know their desires, motives, and passions. It is quite natural for us to play--and write, it's not just the acting good that's hard to do. An actor can only play what's he's given, and most of the time writers don't know what real, vibrant goodness is, either--bad guys with more life than good guys.

Who makes up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences but 5,607 members of the film world, actors and directors and producers and such? This is the world of themselves they vote on, so whatever happens in the Oscars, it isn't because teh world at large deems it so. It's Hollywood itself who says so. So whoever gets an Oscar or doesn't it's because of other film people.

And they don't necessarily see AAs as either Steppinfetchit or Bad Leroy Brown. Not all 5, 607 of them. They pride themselves on being among the most progressive of Americans.

Are they?
Good question, Melesi


Huey,

I'm puzzled as to why you are offended by critical analysis of the oscar winning role in the highly popular film, Monster's Ball? Is the film above reproach? Quite frankly, I don't care whether the role was occupied by halle berrie, thandie newton, beyonce knowles or some other young black "it girl" actress. The role and the film, which garnered so much attention bear some discussion.
quote:
Originally posted by Melesi:
Or is it just easier to play a bad guy than a good one, therefore we do it better?



Who makes up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences but 5,607 members of the film world, actors and directors and producers and such? This is the world of themselves they vote on, so whatever happens in the Oscars, it isn't because teh world at large deems it so. It's Hollywood itself who says so. So whoever gets an Oscar or doesn't it's because of other film people.

And they don't necessarily see AAs as either Steppinfetchit or Bad Leroy Brown. Not all 5, 607 of them. They pride themselves on being among the most progressive of Americans.

Are they?



Now about the first question is what I want to speak on.

Now MBM and most agree (even myself to an extent) that black actors nominated or won Oscars for roles that white people are comfortable in seeing us in.

Now villians are usually more exciting than the heroes. Now having said that, if Denzel playing against type wins him Best Actor and that's wrong, then how do you explain Anthony Hopkins winning Best Actor as a serial-killing cannibal? I could use Marlon Brando's Oscar-winning role in the Godfather, but Mob bosses are "cool" glamorous villains. There's nothing cool about being a cannibal.

It's getting late. I need to elaborate this at a better time. I don't want no one to misunderstand me.
Huey, it's not that he won his second oscar, but the point that he won the Best Leading Actor. What kind of message does that send? He couldn't win for Hurricane or Malcolm X something constructive in the world community? That's what I'm talking about. The type of character he played.
I'm glad that you see my point here MBM.

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
Yssys, Denzel didn't win for Malcolm X because Hollywood doesn't like Spike Lee. They couldn't give Denzel Best Actor and give Spike Lee an Oscar-winning film. The only film directed by a black man to win an Oscar is Gordon Parks' "Shaft" (1971), which won for the Best Original Score.

For the Hurricane, the press kept saying that the story was supposedly not totally truthful. I think it's BS, but that's what Hollywood's far-fetched reason.

So what we supposed to do, Yssys? MBM? Get upset at the actors for playing the role or the Academy for nominating them?

Negrospiritual, you asked me why I'm so adamant against those who didn't think Halle should've won the Oscar. I know that many of us have been denied due to racism, politics, etc. The Academy has over 5,607 members. The only way to get to be a member in the Academy is to either win an Oscar or to be nominated.

Now since since Cuba, Whoopi, Samuel Jackson, Fishburne, Halle, Will Smith and Queen Latifah are new members (if they choose to be) could encourage other members in their age range or mindset, to nominate more POC in roles that are more prolific, instead of something that could be labeled as stereotypical, subservient, or negative.

Having said that, I hope that will happen so we won't have to have threads like this in the future. Now, I'm not going to go back on the Angel Bassett controversy about it, since it's been nearly two years and it's been done over.

According to an africana.com, actress N'Bushe Wright spoke about how she contributed to the screenplay of "Monster's Ball" as well as auditioning for the role of Leticia. According to her, the screenplay origianally had five love/sex scenes instead of two.

N'Bushe being denied a co-writer's credit in the film, in addition to ultimately losing the role of Leticia to Halle, IMO is a much more legitimate complaint than Ms. Bassett's complaint, due to the fact that Ms. Wright had contributed to the script.

What I didn't like was that Ms. Wright added that the director (white) and/or the producer (black) picked Halle because she was lighter or something similar to it. Then she added I'm an all-American girl, apparently saying that she's not as mixed or light or basically more "black" than Halle is. I don't care how light or dark you are as a black person. But if you're over 25 or 30 years old, you should know that as far as America is concerned--whether you're all-black, mostly black, part-black, half-black, a third black or a drop of black--YOU'RE BLACK ENOUGH!

Furthermore, I want to add that Halle's website was crashed due to vandalism by skinhead hackers who preferred Nicole Kidman to win Best Actress instead of Halle Berry.

Now you all can nail me to the wall for what I say next, but there is something detrimentally wrong, I repeat WRONG, when black folks and KKK skinheads agree on the same thing, regardless how different theit motives and reasons for their explanations. It's just not right. Obviously, there are some people in this world that don't want blacks to win any type of accolade, whatsoever.

Could we improve on our movies? Yes. Should we support them? Yes.

But we must improve on writing our scripts. Whatever the scripts are, if they're good or bad, then that will be the outcome of the film.

I'm a member of my hometown's film commision. I'm trying to get more minority and independent filmmakers get their movies to play in the theatres. I'm going to be in an upcoming film which will starting filming in January. I've just finished writing a book that I hope I can get funding to make it into a movie.

We can't make changes with just marching, speeches and picket signs. We have to be get involved in filmmaking in order to change the industry. They're losing tens of millions of dollars with digital video b/c getting rolls of film alone cost $10K-30K. On video, you can erase it and do it over. You can't do that on film. and HD digital video, you can barely see the difference, unless you work in the media.

That's what I'm talking about. I hope we're on the same page. If not, at least remember this. If we don't even try to contribute to change the industry from within or without, in front of or behind the camera and instead just sit down and twiddle our thumbs and wait...then we have no reason to complain.

Getting upset about which brother or sister is/isn't winning or nominated for which award will get us nowhere if the only options we use is either waiting or marching. The film industry is a business and we should treat it as such, so we can get on with the business of improving our films and not make another "Big Momma's 3 or 4". We can do better than this. If we have to get black businesses for funding, then so be it. That's what we'll have to do.

LET'S DO THE DAMN THANG!--and do it well.
"Negrospiritual, you asked me why I'm so adamant against those who didn't think Halle should've won the Oscar. I know that many of us have been denied due to racism, politics, etc. The Academy has over 5,607 members. The only way to get to be a member in the Academy is to either win an Oscar or to be nominated."


actually, bro Huey, I asked you why you seem to be offended by critical analysis of the film. I've tried to expand the dialogue beyong "halle berry" several times. Why do you rebuff any attempt to look at the imagery of black love in the film? Is that taboo?
Huey,

Bless you, bro, for your work. You're doing exactly what we need to do.

We can make it better, and that's the only thing that will make it better. No one will do it for us. We have to, and we can.

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