Tuesday, 28 February 2012

And the winner is...

Before I start, full disclosure: I have neither read The Help, nor watched its film adaptation. I'm not interested in a made up story presenting a whitewashed version of American racial politics, nope.

So, I had mixed feelings when Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award for her role in the film this past weekend. She played Minny Jackson, a maid frequently described as "feisty" "sassy" "outspoken"...YAWN...I think you can guess where this is going.

Spencer won best supporting actress. If we look at previous Black winners in this category there is:

Mo'Nique for Precious

J-Hud for Dreamgirls

Whoopi for Ghost

Rita Moreno for West Side Story

Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind.

All good (well mainly) performances. All either portraying someone whose profession is to entertain, or someone poor and disenfranchised. Halle Berry is famously the only Black woman to win Best Actress and a quick scan of Wikipedia doesn't show any women of Asian descent as recipients or nominees in either category...although I'm hoping I've got that wrong. But, hey! We shouldn't be so negative, after all, it was a Black woman getting an Oscar. That's something to be celebrated, right? RIGHT?


  1. I have read the book and seen the film in that order. I thought the book was well written, the film was rubbish and simply played for laughs with a spot of pathos thrown in. I was disappointed that a black writer had not written the book but I felt it gave a good account of the role of maids who live with the white families that they work for. I say this based on a good knowledge of African American literature both fiction and factual which covers the issue in some form or another and from conversations with my Black cousins (of African Caribbean descent who shared their views based on conversations with their African American friends

    I was disappointed that apart from Halle Berry
    a Black woman has not won an Oscar for playing roles other tthan maids or entertainers...but...

  2. Rita Moreno is not black.