However, African-American writer Dyna Nyma counters MacDonald on the blog PolicyMic: “Children are not just passive subjects. Even at a young age, they already possess the ability to play. Even in every day life they are able to create artificial environments, and indulge in illusions without getting lost in them. Furthermore, in an interview, in June 2012, Wallis, in her own words distinguishes herself from Hushpuppy. By doing so she shows that, despite her young age, children can adopt a persona and more or less act, contrary to what MacDonald thinks.”
As the debate over whether or not Wallis is worthy of recognition continues, the wild card in the Oscar race remains Django Unchained.
Despite being one of the most influential filmmakers of his or any era, Quentin Tarantino has never won a best director Oscar and he isn’t even nominated this year. Yet he is the frontrunner for best original screenplay (which may raise eyebrows due to his film’s ubiquitous use of the n-word) and with the best supporting actor race relatively wide open, Golden Globe winner Christoph Waltz may just win his second Academy Award for his role as Dr. King Schultz in the movie.
Sadly for many black movie fans, the hit slavery-themed film’s black stars, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, all went unrecognized by the Academy.
But what about the best picture race? That award goes to the film’s producers, which in the case of Django includes veteran black filmmaker Reginald Hudlin.
The House Party director has been one of his film’s fiercest defenders in the face of criticism of the movie’s language, violence and interpretation of American history.
“We knew from the beginning that we were working with nitroglycerin,” Hudlin said in a recent Associated Press interview. “Was there a tremendous amount of discussion and conversation and analysis to make sure we were calibrating this thing exactly right? Absolutely. It was explosive material, but I always had confidence that as a team, we would deliver the right movie.”
Django has become an enormous hit, grossing over $150 million in the U.S. alone, but it’s widely viewed as too provocative and polarizing to have a serious shot at the night’s biggest prize.
That award will likely go to either the Iranian hostage crisis thriller Argo, which has been on a roll as of late or Lincoln, which is the highest-grossing and most nominated film of the year.
For some black viewers it’s ironic that a film about the outlawing of slavery, which largely sidesteps the role of African-Americans in that struggle, would be the movie to triumph on Oscar night.
Still, that film has renewed interest in the historic fight for the 13th Amendment, and may have led to the state of Mississippi finally officially ratifying it just this year.
The 85th annual Academy Awards air Sunday, February 24th at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Follow Adam Howard on Twitter at @at_howard