Will #OscarsSoWhite trend again? Murphy, other stars of color deserve nominations Monday
The nominations for the 2020 British Academy Film Awards, better known as the BAFTAs, were greeted with incredulity Tuesday when moviegoers noticed something about the 20 nominees in the four main acting categories: They are all white.
Upon closer inspection, you see there aren't even 20 different nominees. Margot Robbie will compete against herself in the supporting actress category, earning nominations for channeling the spirit of Sharon Tate in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" and for a fictional conglomerate role in "Bombshell." Scarlett Johansson, who drew fire in 2017 for playing what had been a Japanese character in the anime adaptation "Ghost in the Shell," is a lead actress nominee for "Marriage Story" and a supporting nominee for "Jojo Rabbit."
The voting period for the Oscar nominations ended Tuesday afternoon, giving Hollywood's procrastinators a last chance to respond to the BAFTAs' lack of diversity by putting award-worthy names such as Lupita Nyong'o ("Us"), Akwafina ("The Farewell"), Antonio Banderas ("Pain and Glory") and Jennifer Lopez ("Hustlers") on their ballots.
If I had a ballot ...
... Eddie Murphy's name would surely be on it. He stars as nightclub comic-turned-filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore in the Netflix biopic "Dolemite Is My Name," one of the year's funniest and most downright lovable films. It's a career high point for Murphy, who has languished in family-friendly fare such as "Daddy Day Care" and "A Thousand Words" for far too long.
It's also a high point for screenwriters Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, who have built their careers on dramatizing the lives of colorful outsiders; "The People vs. Larry Flynt," "Ed Wood" and the Andy Kaufman chronicle "Man on the Moon" are all great movies, but "Dolemite Is My Name" trumps them all.
As depicted in the film, Rudy Ray Moore becomes an underground '70s sensation with raunchy, raucous comedy albums that he records in friends' homes and sells out of the trunk of his car. His D.I.Y. spirit soon extends to making "Dolemite," a movie about a pimp who takes revenge on the guy who put him in jail, with his friends and some green UCLA students in an abandoned hotel.
Directed by Craig Brewer, who is also helming Murphy's upcoming "Coming to America" sequel, "Dolemite Is My Name" combines Moore's filthy jokes, Murphy's do-it-all performance and an uplifting sense of fellowship into one of 2019's very best movies. I hope to see it nominated for picture, actor and original screenplay on Monday.
• Follow Sean on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.