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LARGE POPCORN, EXTRA BUTTER: Rooting for everybody Black

Greg Marrast writes about BIPOC nominees for this year’s Oscars
Greg Marrast writes about supporting Black filmmakers. Photo: Submitted

by Greg Marrast

In 2017 at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, Issa Rae, lead actress, writer, and creator of Insecure made waves on the red carpet when she was asked who she was rooting for at the Emmys, “I’m rooting for everybody Black.”

Even though her show hadn’t been nominated for any awards that year, she was excited to see the number of Black artists being recognized at the Emmys. With the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominees, and seeing the large amount of diversity in several categories including first-time nominees, who will you be rooting for at this year’s Oscars on March 10?

• American Fiction, based on the book Erasure by Percival Everett, is nominated for five awards, including Best Actor (Jeffrey Wright), Best Supporting Actor (Sterling K. Brown), Best Adapted Screenplay (Cord Jefferson), and Best Picture.

• Barbie based on Barbie by Mattel, nominated for eight awards including Best Supporting Actress (America Ferrera).

• The Holdovers nominated for five awards including Best Supporting Actress (Da’Vine Joy Randolph).

• Killers of the Flower Moon based on the book by David Grann, nominated for 10 awards, including Best Actress (Lily Gladstone).

• Past Lives nominated for two awards including Best Original Screenplay (Celine Song) and Best Picture.

There are also some nominees that have flown under the radar, but deserve just as much recognition for their work:

Colman Domingo: first time nominated for Best Actor for Rustin (available on Netflix).

Danielle Brooks: first time nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Color Purple.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Many of these films spent some time in the spotlight, which featured so many noteworthy performances, and highlighted many different areas of the Black experience. As the awards season continues throughout February and March with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, British Academy of Television and Film Awards, and the prestigious Academy Awards still on the horizon, there is still much that needs to be done to address the impact of diverse artists and voices in the world of cinema.

Acclaimed filmmaker Ava Duvernay, in promoting her most recent film Origin at the Venice International Film Festival, commented on her experience in bringing her films to international festivals. “You cannot play international film festivals, no one will come, people will not come to your press conference, people will not come to the P&I screenings, there will not be interest in selling tickets – you will not even get into this festival, don’t apply. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, ‘don’t apply to Venice, you won’t get in, it won’t happen.’”

In our current era of cinema, diverse and Black artists are still continuously being told that their stories do not have relevance. Their art and their history have often been dubbed “uninteresting” or “not noteworthy.” Fighting back against this perception and this categorization has been incredibly frustrating for Black actors, writers and directors who have the same level of passion for their craft and their art and see the relevance in the stories they are telling.

This Black History Month, Black artists are being celebrated at 225 Hall St., home of Reo’s Video and The Shoebox Theatre. There is currently an incredible selection of films featuring Black actors, writers and directors, sharing a unique look at Black history and culture, historical movements centred around Black people, and Black struggles and perseverance. The Shoebox Theatre is also being used as a venue for Black History Month films to be screened for school groups or select parties of 15-to-20 patrons. These screenings at the Shoebox will be offered completely free throughout the month of February, with a commitment of at least 15 patrons and the purchase of concession during the screening.

For more information, or to book a private screening for Black History Month at the Shoebox, visit the Nelson Civic Theatre Society’s website: We are very much excited to celebrate Black History Month with you this year.

Greg Marrast holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Theatre and Film, and Youth Leadership. He currently works at Reo’s Video and The Shoebox Theatre. Greg has been a resident of Nelson for nearly three years and is a big advocate of seeing diverse voices and stories given their time to shine in the spotlight.