Kam Williams’ Blacktrospective 2014

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Kam’s Annual Assessment of the Best in Black Cinema

Top Ten Big Budget Black Films

1. Selma

David Oyelowo was nominated for a Golden Globe for his stirring performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the highly-anticipated, civil rights drama Selma. Directed by Ava DuVernay and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, the film follows the black fight for the right to register to vote culminating in the march from Selma to Montgomery and in President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, but that did not stop the discrimination, mainly against blacks, and it was still violently rampant in some areas. This made it very difficult for blacks to register to vote.

Selma is the story of a movement, a chronicle of a three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights for all, in the face of violent opposition. Selma Film Review

2. The Equalizer

By day, Robert McCall, an affable widower, is employed as a sales associate at a hardware superstore where he jokes with co-workers who call him “Pops.” Evenings, he retires to a modest apartment in a working-class, Boston community, although bouts of insomnia often have him descending to a nearby diner to read a book into the wee hours of the morning.

3. Top Five

Top Five features Chris Rock as Andre Allen, a comedian too closely associated with Hammy the Bear, so he’s having a hard time making the transition to dramatic roles

While Andre promotes his newest movie, Uprize, New York Times reporter Chelsea Brown, played by Rosario Dawson tags along to prepare a profile on him.

Sparks fly, the two flirt, and it’s obvious the two are attracted to each other. Trouble is, he’s already engaged and about to marry Erica Long, played by Gabrielle Union, a shallow, self-centered reality show star. Top Five Film Review

4. Belle

Born in the West Indies in 1761, Dido Belle was the product of the taboo union of Mary Belle, an African slave, and John Lindsay, a British ship captain. Upon Mary’s death, the concerned father brought his 8 year-old daughter to England to see whether his well-heeled aunt and uncle might be willing to take her in. Belle Film Review

5. Get on Up

Chadwick Boseman, a gifted young actor, impersonates a legendary African-American, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (1933-2006). Get on Up Film Review

6. Beyond The Lights

Noni has it all, fame and money. After years of hard work, the pop singer is finally on the brink of superstardom, thanks to several hit singles and duets with her famous rapper boyfriend, Kid Culprit.

Amidst the stardom, Noni is secretly miserable and suicidal. That’s because every step of her assault on showbiz has been dictated by her abusive mother, Macy, the proverbial stage-mom from Hell. Beyond The Lights Film Review

7. About Last Night

Loosely based on the 1986 original, this About Last Night raunchy remake is a romantic comedy for popular comic-turned-actor Kevin Hart, whose character, Bernie, is now the leading man. The setting has been shifted from Chicago to L.A., where much of the humor caters to the African-American palate, since the principal cast members are now all black. About Last Night Film Review

8. Think Like a Man Too

9. Black or White

10. Addicted

Best Independent Black Films

1. Dear White People

2. Half of a Yellow Sun

3. The Retrieval

4. From the Rough

From The Rough Film Review

5. Sucka 4 Luv

Sucka 4 Luv Film Review

Best Black Documentaries

1. The Trials of Muhammad Ali

2. America the Beautiful 3

3. The New Black

4. Vanishing Pearls

5. 25 to Life

6. Keep on Keepin’ On

7. The Barefoot Artist

8. Tanzania: A Journey Within

9. I Am Ali

10. Through a Lens Darkly

Best Actor (Lead Role)

1. Denzel Washington (The Equalizer)

Denzel and director Antoine Fuqua discuss their reuniting to collaborate again on The Equalizer. Denzel Washington & Antoine Fuqua ‘The Equalizer’ Interview

2. Chris Rock (Top Five)

Chris Rock sort of plays himself in Top Five as he probes his personal roots, and origins of his raucous personality as well. He is pursued by journalists, including a fetching but suspect reporter played by Rosario Dawson. Chris Rock Talks Top Five

3. Astro (Earth to Echo)

4. David Oyelowo (Selma)

David Oyelowo, a classically-trained stage actor, is working successfully and simultaneously in film, television and theater, and has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. He was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his stirring performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the highly-anticipated, civil rights drama Selma.

Directed by Ava DuVernay and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, the film follows the black fight for the right to register to vote culminating in the march from Selma to Montgomery and in President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965. David Oyelowo The ‘Selma’ Interview

5. Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up)

6. Michael Ealy (About Last Night)

For the last few years, Michael Ealy has been red-hot, jumping from TV to film and back to TV. He earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series, for the sci-fi television series, “Almost Human.” He starred in the remake of About Last Night, and prior to that on the TV series “Common Law.” Michael Ealy ‘Think Like a Man Too’ Interview

7. Nate Parker (Beyond the Lights)

Actor and humanitarian Nate Parker first received critical attention for his starring role in The Great Debaters opposite Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker. Denzel handpicked him to play the troubled yet brilliant Henry Lowe who overcomes his selfish ways to become the team’s leader. Nate received an honorary Doctorate from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, the school on which The Great Debaters was based. Nate Parker ‘The Beyond the Lights’ Interview

8. Kevin Hart (About Last Night)

Kevin Hart is an expert shoe salesman and a comic, whose electrifying performance on amateur night at a Philadelphia comedy club changed his life forever. Now, he has had a #1 hit movie in Ride Along, Little Fockers, Death at a Funeral, Fool’s Gold and The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Kevin and Regina Hall discuss their new film, About Last Night, a 1986 remake of the classic romantic comedy.

9. Tishuan Scott (The Retrieval)

Tishuan Scott was born on October 27, 1979 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia as an Oprah Scholar, where he matriculated towards earning his Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Psychology in 2002. He then attended the University of California at Los Angeles’ School of Theater, Film & Television as a Lloyd Bridges MGM/Outer Limits Fellow, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in Acting in 2006. Tishuan Scott ‘The Retrieval’ Interview

10. Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Life of a King)

Best Actor (Supporting Role)

1. Jamie Foxx (Annie)

2. J.B. Smoove (Top Five)

3. Ice Cube (22 Jump Street)

4. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Half of a Yellow Sun)

5. Tyler James Williams (Dear White People)

6. Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1)

7. Common (Selma)

8. Boris Kodjoe (Addicted)

From his big screen and television roles to his theater and entrepreneurial skills, Boris Kodjoe has proven to be one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents. He is probably best known for his role as Damon Carter on the TV series “Soul Food.” Boris Kodjoe The ‘Addicted’ Interview

9. Terry Crews (Blended)

10. Ashton Sanders (The Retrieval)

Best Actress (Lead Role)

Gugu Mbatha Raw
MbathaRaw at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festiva.

1. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle)

2. Thandie Newton (Half of a Yellow Sun)

3. Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie)

4. Regina Hall (About Last Night)

Regina Hall began her acting career in the late 1990’s while simultaneously earning a master’s degree from New York University. With numerous film and television credits to her name, Regina has since emerged as one of Hollywood’s most sought after comedic actresses. Regina Hall & Kevin Hart ‘About Last Night’ Interview

5. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights)

Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s name means “our pride.” She skyrocketed to fame on the strength of her inspired performance as the title character in Belle, a biopic about a biracial slave girl who was brought by her white father to England where she was raised in the lap of luxury by aristocratic relatives.

In Gugu Mbatha-Raw The Beyond The Lights Interview, Gugu compares her role in Belle to her new role as Noni, in Beyond the Lights, in which she plays a pop star who falls for her hunky, supportive bodyguard.

6. Joy Bryant (About Last Night)

7. Xavia Omega (Sucka 4 Luv)

8. Taraji P. Henson (From the Rough)

9. Nia Long (The Single Moms Club)

Stunningly-attractive leading lady Nia Long returned to the big screen last fall in the highly-anticipated sequel The Best Man Holiday where she reunited with original cast mates Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut and Harold Perrineau. Early last year, she joined the all-star cast of Showtime’s “House of Lies” alongside Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell. Nia Long ‘The Single Moms Club’ Interview

10. Sharon Leal (Addicted)

Best Actress (Supporting Role)

1. Tessa Thompson (Dear White People)

2. Rosario Dawson (Top Five)

3. Carmen Ejogo (Selma)

4. Leslie Jones (Top Five)

5. Oprah Winfrey (Selma)

6. Anika Noni Rose (Half of a Yellow Sun)

7. Gabrielle Union (Top Five)

8. Amber Stevens (22 Jump Street)

9. Paula Patton (About Last Night)

10. Octavia Spencer (Black or White)

Best Director (Big Budget Film)

1. Ava DuVernay (Selma)

2. Antoine Fuqua (The Equalizer)

3. Amma Asante (Belle)

4. Chris Rock (Top Five)

5. Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights)

6. Tim Story (Think Like a Man Too)

7. Tyler Perry (The Single Moms Club)

8. Tim Story (Ride Along)

9. Nick Cannon (School Dance)

10. Billie Woodruff (Addicted)

Best Director (Independent Film)

1. Justin Simien (Dear White People)

2. Biyi Bandele (Half of a Yellow Sun)

3. Pierre Bagley (From the Rough)

4. Patrick Pierre (Sucka 4 Luv)

5. Mark Harris (Black Coffee)

Best Director (Documentary Film)

1. Darryl Roberts (America the Beautiful 3)

2. Yoruba Richen (The New Black)

3. Nailah Jefferson (Vanishing Pearls)

4. Mike Brown (25 to Life)

5. Thomas Allen Harris (Through a Lens Darkly)

Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, who gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.