Let’s put 2 and 2 together. There was the campaign reportedly led by Julia
Roberts to have members vote for Washington ‘because it’s time to recognise
African American actors.’ Then there was black host, Whoopie Goldberg. That’s
2. Then A Beautiful Mind won the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best
Supporting Actress – but not Best Actor, yet the film rests on the Actor’s
shoulders, being a biopic. That’s another 1. And another 1 is the special
Oscar for the superstar black actor, Sidney Poitier, whose first Oscar in 1959
was a first for black Americans. So 2 and 2 do make 4.
Ironically, the result will probably help Russell Crowe more than Denzel
Denzel Washington was one of the nominees, even though I don’t think his
role in Training Day stretched him. The nomination is certainly not a sign of
him being ignored by the Academy – indeed, it is another example of solid
recognition by the Academy that goes back to his first nomination in 1988 (Cry
Freedom) and his 1990 win (Glory).
Whatever you thought of the Oscars, you might have to rethink it in the light
of these machinations. Next year, it might be time for Yellow Americans? Red
Americans? Spanish Americans, dammit.
NB: Of the 13 Oscar nominations enjoyed by Australians, only three were for
work on an Australian film (Moulin Rouge) – and Catherine Martin won two of them
(one with Brigitte Broch and the other with Angus Strathie) with Nicole Kidman as the third for Best Actress; Andrew Lesnie won
the third Australian Oscar for his work on a New Zealand film – Fellowship of