Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora


The Obenson Report blog is currently on a temporary hiatus! I thought I'd be able to continue posting at a less frequent rate; however, I've been consumed with 2 separate film projects for the last 2 weeks, in order to meet self-imposed deadlines.

So, to avoid further distractions, I've decided to commit my time to those film projects, which I intend to complete by the summer and fall respectively.

One is a web-based series that I plan on producing during the summer, and the other is my second feature-length film effort. I'm excited about both possibilities!

I'll continue hosting my podcast, once a month, as previously announced, with the next episode scheduled for this Monday, the 3rd of March, 2008, from 9PM to 10PM EST, at

In the meantime, do yourself a favor and visit the other "members of my club" as listed to the right:
Thanks to all those who have been frequent readers and posters!

I leave you now with this:

"...there, Michael, in the middle of Sixth Avenue -- as I stood there jabbering... traffic speeding... I looked at my hands and my suit -- my briefcase -- and it came to me -- came over me -- through me -- the overwhelming sensation -- the feeling -- the fact -- that I was covered with some sort of film -- an oil -- an ooze -- my hair -- my face -- like a glaze -- a coating -- and at first I thought, “My God, I know what this is, this is some sort of amniotic, embryonic fluid - I’m drenched in afterbirth -- I’ve breached the chrysalis -- I’ve been reborn”... or some giddy illusion of renewal that happens in the final instant before death.” I realized, at that moment, that I had emerged -- as I have done nearly every day for the past twenty eight years of my life from the asshole of an organism whose sole function is to excrete the poison -- the ammo -- the defoliant -- necessary for even larger and more dangerous organisms to destroy the miracle of humanity -- and that I have been coated with this patina of shit for the better part of my life and that the stink and stain might in all likelihood take the rest of my days to undo -- and do you know what I did next? I took a deep, cleansing breath. I set that notion aside. I tabled it. I said to myself, “As clear as this may be -- as potent as this may feel -- as true a thing as I believe I have witnessed here -- It must stand the test of time.” And, Michael, the time is NOW!"

As spoken by Tom Wilkinson as Arthur Dent from the film Michael Clayton (although slightly edited for my benefit). He should have won the Oscar for best supporting actor, by the way. His performance in Michael Clayton trumped Javier Bardem's choirboy haircut killer!


For Your Information...

Starting this week, my posts will decrease quite a bit. I usually post at least 1 entry per day; but from here on, until further notice, expect 2 or 3 posts per week!

Why? The next several months are going to be quite busy for me, as my focus continuously shifts to other matters.

Life happens, as the saying sometimes goes! But hang in there with me. It only gets better :o)

In the meantime, I leave you with this. Think of it in terms of cinema as you watch it:



Did You Know #6 & Things That Made me Go Hmm #4

An amalgamation of Did You Know and Things That Made Me Go Hmm...

All 4 winners in the major performance categories (best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress) were not American - actually, they're all European.

Spain's Javier Bardem won best supporting actor for his performance in No Country For Old Men. It was the first Oscar for a Spanish performer in the 80-year history of the world's premier cinema awards. British Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor in There Will Be Blood, his second win in that category. Scotland's Tilda Swinton was named best supporting actress for her role in Michael Clayton, which was quite a surprise for me, as I had Cate Blanchett as the favorite for her riveting performance in the Bob Dylan quasi-biopic, I'm Not There. Lastly, French star Marion Cotillard beat Julie Christie as best actress with her acclaimed performance as troubled chanteuse Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. Cotillard was the first French woman to win the award since Simone Signoret in 1960.

But this certainly isn't the first time that non-Americans have swept the acting categories. In 1964, British Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews won for best actor and actress respectively, while Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov (also Brit, although his parents were of mostly Russian and Swiss heritage) and Lila Kedrova (a Russian) won for supporting.

To quote Paul Revere, "The British are coming! The British are coming!" Although, it's been suggested that those weren't his exact words.

Netflix, Inc.

Introducing The New Barack Obama!

Introducing: the man who will play Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live!

So... after about a week of suspense (and I use that word loosely), the producers of Saturday Night Live have finally decided on who will assume the job of caricaturing Barack Obama for this season of SNL, and possibly even longer, especially if Obama becomes the 44th president of these united states. I blogged about this a few days ago, and you can read that entry HERE. His name is Fred Armisen, and incase you're wondering, no he isn't black, so expect to see some controversy from this decision. The lack of black faces on SNL is and has been apparent since inception; and, as I said previously, the job of playing Obama could possibly become quite lucrative for whomever is chosen to portray him, if Obama does indeed become the next president of the United States. We're talking at least 4 years of guaranteed employment for that comic/actor! But, as has already been noted by several media outlets, there've been instances previously when real life black people have been caricatured by white cast members, for example, Darrell Hammond's impression of Jesse Jackson, and Horatio Sanz as Aaron Neville, amongst others. However, we're talking about potentially the next president of the United States, not Jesse Jackson, or Aaron Neville (of course, no disrespect towards those two men); and we're talking about one the longest running, sketch comedy variety shows seen weekly by millions of people. I really think the the producers of the show should have gone out of their way to find a black actor/comic to assume what could be quite a plump role. Or maybe they should make an effort to ensure that there is always more than 1 non-white cast member so that situations like this never have to arise again.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. So, let the shit storm begin!!

2008 Academy Award / Oscar Nominations - My $.02

In honor of tonight's Academy Award celebration, this is a repost of my picks for who will win in the major categories. This was originally posted a month ago, on January 22, soon after the nominees were announced. Looking over the list now, there are a couple of changes I would make, given all that's transpired in the last month. BUT, I'll stick to my original picks!

So, what do you think?

The nominations for the 80th annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, with "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" leading the way with eight nods each. Not-so surprisingly, "colored" faces are mostly absent this year. Although, I thought the Oprah Winfrey produced, The Great Debaters was a lock for something - whether direction, acting, picture... something. Not that I think it's fully deserving, but I recall hearing much talk about a possible Oscar campaign for the film and its stars, with the Golden Globes leading the charge. Guess not. Oh well... life goes on, right? Ruby Dee's nomination for best supporting actress (American Gangster) is certainly a surprise. I haven't seen the film (no interest) but influenced by her nomination, I'm just might...

Notable omissions: despite all the noise about her NAACP Image Award nomination, Angelina Jolie didn't get any love from the Academy for her portrayal as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart Also, Tommy Lee Jones should have received a nomination for his supporting role in the Coen Brothers western, No Country For Old Men.

Yes, it was a horrible year for blacks on screen folks! There just wasn't much for us to cheer, and it's evident below. Although I think it wasn't a very good year for film in general.

The nominations follow below, along with my selections for who will win in red bold, and other ramblings, in parentheses:

Best Picture

"Atonement" (This will win. Didn't see it. But the word on it is strong)
"Juno" (Over-rated)
"Michael Clayton" (a little puzzled by this one. Saw it... entertaining mostly. Not a best picture nom.)
"No Country for Old Men" (Solid but over-rated)
"There Will Be Blood" (Solid, but without Daniel Day Lewis, it wouldn't be on this list)

Actor in a Leading Role

George Clooney, "Michael Clayton" (Like George Clooney. Not his best)
Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood" (Awesome performance. He was the movie and he will win)
Johnny Depp, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (Ho-hum)
Viggo Mortensen, "Eastern Promises" (Didn't see it; a long-shot)

Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett, "Elizabeth - The Golden Age" (A good actress in a mediocre flick)
Julie Christie, "Away From Her" (Yawn)
Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose" (Eh... *shrugging*... although I think she will win)
Laura Linney, "The Savages" (Didn't see it. Doubt she'll win)
Ellen Page, "Juno" (Over-rated, over-hyped)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (good job, but not his time yet)
Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men" (His name is already in the envelope. Although I couldn't get past the funny hair cut)
Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild" (Memorable film; forgettable role)
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Charlie Wilson's War" (Yawn)
Tom Wilkinson, "Michael Clayton" (Love the guy; always solid in his roles, even this one. But Bardem's haircut gets the nod this year)

Actress in a Supporting Role

Cate Blanchett, "I'm Not There" (Wow, nominated in 2 categories. Go Cate! She'll win this one. Mesmerizing performance)
Ruby Dee, "American Gangster" (Intriguing selection. Likely a long-shot)
Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement" (Who?)
Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone" (Who?)
Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton" (captivating in her business suits; but can't beat Cate as a man)


Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (I think this will be his year)
Jason Reitman, "Juno" (Eh...)
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton" (Shouldn't be on this list)
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men" (The usual, but no gold this year fellas)
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood" (Strong 4th outing, since Punch-Drunk Love. But it was Daniel Day Lewis's show)

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Diablo Cody, "Juno" (Aarrghh... no more Juno noms, please!! Although, I think it will win in this category)
Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl" (Nope)
Tony Gilroy, "Michael Clayton" (Sorry Tony)
Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, "Ratatouille" (Interesting selection. Would be even more interesting if it wins)
Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages" (Pass)

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Christopher Hampton, "Atonement" (Hmmm... I think it's his to lose)
Sarah Polley, "Away From Her" (Word is strong on this one; surprised she wasn't nominated for Director)
Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Probably not)
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men" (Again, usual solid work, but not this year)
Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood" (Again, it's Daniel Day Lewis's film)

Alright - that's all folks!