Alright, so I've been waiting to wrap up Twice a Best Actor before starting any blogathons, but since posting my list of The Ten Most Interesting Actresses, I've been wanting to start this. I started the conversation with regards to minorities, especially women of color, getting interesting roles in Hollywood, and you took that and ran with it, throwing out names we should all be familiar with (thank you so much for the bounty of comments on that post!) and so I'm here to say...let's GET familiar with those names!
Here is my issue with Hollywood. It seems like these talented women (the men have it much easier) are either relegated to minority-necessary casting (like, we NEED a black actress in this movie because the character is a slave) or they get shoved onto television, where they flourish in short lived TV shows that the average cinephile has probably never heard of. It is very rare that a top rate director is going to use an actress of color in a role that doesn't call for one. Just look at the Oscar nominated actresses to see proof of this.
Of the ten black actresses nominated for Lead Actress at the Oscars, only the character of Hushpuppy (played by Quvenzhane Wallis) didn't require a black actress, and even that could be slightly debatable.
Look at the rest of them.
These are either specific to black issues of a certain time period of biopics about black women. Diana Ross, Celie Johnson, Tina Turner, Precious, Aibileen Clark...great roles but these talented women got these roles partly because they NEEDED a black actress, not on sheer talent alone. Supporting Actress isn't much better. There were 19 performances nominated (that is, if you are going to include Carol Channing) and of those 19 performances, only 3 (not including Woodard and Waters, since I haven't seen those performances so I can't judge) could have been played white.
But look at the COUNTLESS Oscar nominations for white actresses. Let's start with just the last four years, 2010-2013. Obviously, there are a lot of biopic nominations going on all over the place, but taking those out...look at some of these roles and tell me if they couldn't have been filled by an actress of color.
Nina Sayers (Black Swan)
Nic (The Kids are All Right)
Cindy (Blue Valentine)
Tiffany (Silver Linings Playbook)
Cheryl (The Sessions)
Dolores (Silver Linings Playbook)
Jasmine (Blue Jasmine)
Ryan Stone (Gravity)
Ginger (Blue Jasmine)
I mean, I could see some of these roles being great showcases for some of the spectacular actresses of color who, sadly, are overlooked for so much. Why couldn't Angela Bassett have snagged the role of Nic in The Kids are All Right? She could have been a great choice for the role. Why couldn't Meagan Good finally get the role she deserves? She could have been a great fit for the emotionally fragile yet sexually impulsive Tiffany. Why won't Woody Allen utilize African American actresses? I mean, Ginger and Jasmine were adopted sisters, so he could have still cast Blanchett and given us...Taraji P. Henson or Carmen Ejogo! Why hasn't Sanaa Lathan become a bigger thing? She was set to soar in the early 2000's and then, well, does anyone even remember who she is? She would have made a marvelous Ryan Stone or even Cindy. And this isn't a knock to any of the nominated actresses or the performances they gave in their respective roles, but it would just be nice to have had some unappreciated women given the chance to shine.
So, after all that, here are the rules:
1) Pick an OSCAR NOMINATED performance given by a white actress that didn't require a white actress (no biopics here, even though Todd Haynes taught us that you don't need to be the same race or gender to play a real life person). This performance can come from ANY film year.
2) Pick an actress of color who could have been a great fit for the role instead of the one cast. Keep in mind the time of release and chose actresses who were working at that time. So, in other words, don't select the role of Calla Mackie in 1968's Rachel, Rachel (played by Estelle Parsons) and suggest it be a great fit for Naomie Harris, because, well, she wasn't born for another eight years.
3) Explain WHY that actress would have made a great fit. Plead her case. Let's tell those Hollywood casting directors what they're missing.
4) Have your post up by Friday, September 26th. I've giving you a little bit of time on this one, and by all means, do a BUNCH OF THEM! Spread the word. Invite any and all to the recast-athon and let's give these actresses a voice!
5) You can post a link to your post here in the comment section, PM me on Twitter (@fististhoughts) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can use the banner I created above, or by all means use your own!
I will be posting my pick(s) as well as a link to all participating posts on Monday, September 29th.