Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blacktrospective 2011

by Kam Williams

Headline: Kam’s Annual Assessment of the Best in Black Cinema

2011 proved to be another banner year in black cinema, with The Help emerging as the cream of the crop. Even though the adaptation of the Kathryn Stockett best-seller had detractors like Professor Melissa Harris-Perry questioning the historical accuracy of its depiction of Mississippi maids in the Sixties, there’s no denying that Viola Davis delivered an Oscar-worthy performance as the movie’s lead character, Aibileen Clark.
In terms of male leads, Vin Diesel was the best of the bunch in this critic’s opinion. I just hope the ethnically-ambiguous matinee idol doesn’t mind being branded a brother.
A number of excellent offerings were shot over in Africa, most notably Kinyarwanda (Rwanda) and Life, Above All (South Africa). Then there’s Pariah, a gritty, dysfunctional family drama ostensibly inspired by Precious (2009), as it is set in the ‘hood in New York City and features a comedienne (Kim Wayans) cast against type as a monstrous, child-abusing mother.
Finally, as far as documentaries, Dear Daddy by perennial fave Janks Morton gets the nod, which has me wondering when other filmmakers will figure out how to capture sisters so beautifully on camera and in such an emotionally-searing fashion. []

Ten Best Black Feature Films

1. The Help
2. Life, Above All
3. Kinyarwanda
4. I Will Follow
5. Pariah
6. The Grace Card
7. Mooz-Lum
8. Madea’s Big Happy Family
9. Trinity Goodheart
10. Jumping the Broom

Best Black Documentaries

1. Dear Daddy
2. The Blackpower Mixtape 1967-1975
3. Thunder Soul
4. Rejoice & Shout
5. Fear of a Black Republican
6. Muhammad Ali 1973-1974
7. The Interrupters
8. America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments
9. Undefeated
10. Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain

Best African Films

1. Life, Above All
2. Kinyarwanda
3. The First Grader
4. Viva Riva!
5. The Carrier

Best Actor (Lead Role)

1. Vin Diesel (Fast Five)
2. Ken Bevel (Courageous)
3. Oliver Litondo (The First Grader)
4. Tyler Perry (Madea’s Big Happy Family)
5. Eric Benet (Trinity Goodheart)
6. Eddie Murphy (Tower Heist)
7. Laz Alonso (Jumping the Broom)
8. Evan Ross (Mooz-Lum)
9. Mike Higgenbottom (The Grace Card)
10. Mutsari Jean (Kinyarwanda)

Best Actor (Supporting Role)

1. Anthony Mackie (The Adjustment Bureau)
2. Lou Gossett, Jr. (The Grace Card)
3. Bow Wow (Madea’s Big Happy Family)
4. Anthony Mackie (Real Steel)
5. Jamie Foxx (Horrible Bosses)
6. Derek Luke (Captain America: The First Avenger)
7. Laurence Fishburne (Contagion)
8. Tyrese Gibson (Transformers: Dark of the Moon)
9. DeRay Davis (Jumping the Broom)
10. Isaiah Mustafa (Madea’s Big Happy Family)

Best Actress (Lead Role)

1. Viola Davis (The Help)
2. Khomotso Manyaka (Life, Above All)
3. Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Will Follow)
4. Adepero Oduye (Pariah)
5. Nia Long (Mooz-Lum)
6. Erica Gluck (Trinity Goodheart)
7. Naomie Harris (The First Grader)
8. Loretta Devine (Madea’s Big Happy Family)
9. Cassandra Freeman (Kinyarwanda)
10. Paula Patton (Jumping the Broom)

Best Actress (Supporting Role)

1. Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids)
2. Nicole Beharie (Shame)
3. Kim Wayans (Pariah)
4. Octavia Spencer (The Help)
5. Aasha Davis (Pariah)
6. Angela Bassett (Jumping the Broom)
7. Beverly Todd (I Will Follow)
8. Sanaa Lathan (Contagion)
9. Gabourey Sidibe (Tower Heist)
10. Lauren London (Madea’s Big Happy Family)

Best Director (Feature Film)
1. Steve McQueen (Shame)
2. Alrick Brown (Kinyarwanda)
3. Ava Duvernay (I Will Follow)
4. Dee Rees (Pariah)
5. Qasim Bashir (Mooz-Lum)

Best Director (Documentary)

1. Janks Morton (Dear Daddy)
2. Menelik Shabazz (The Story of Lovers Rock)
3. Darryl Roberts (America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments)
4. T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay (Undefeated)
5. Tim Story & Leslie Small (Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain)

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