Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

GOOD MORNING - Oscars, Madea, Salman Rushdie On Slumdog, And A "Nation of Cowards"


Well... the Superbowl of movies is over! YAY! Now we can all get back to sizing up this year's crop of films in anticipation of next year's awards celebration.

I wonder if Tyler Perry will ever win, or even be nominated for an Oscar. I doubt he cares much, given just how financially successful his films have been, particularly his most recent offering, Madea Goes To Jail, which blew the lid off this weekend's box office, with a chunky $41 Million cumulative. I suppose it all depends on what his expectations for himself are. He might be content being commercially successful without the critical acclaim.

The critically over-praised (IMHO) Slumdog Millionaire walked away with the most trophies (8 or so), including many of the most coveted, including Best Director and Best Picture. No surprise right? I was still quite disappointed, because I just didn't think it's the most deserving. But the train carrying it to victory was well-oiled, with the right group of conductors navigating it. If it didn't win, I would have been shocked, an experience I would have welcomed gladly. I like surprises - especially when it comes to awards season.

I've never been to any part of India; and what I do know is restricted to books I've read, friends and acquaintances I've had who were from India, movies (fiction and non) that I've watched, etc. So, my issues with the film have nothing to do with any supposedly factual portrayals or representations within.

However, for Bombay-born, British Indian novelist and essayist, Salman Rushdie, “The movie piles impossibility on impossibility,” as the famous novelist said in a lecture on Sunday evening at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in a report printed just this morning, Rushdie lambasted the “feel-good movie,” and, interestingly, the book Slumdog Millionaire was based on, stating, “Again, the problem with this adaptation begins with the work being adapted."

His complaints ran the gamut from how characters in the film acquire a gun in India, to how they mysteriously wind up at the Taj Mahal, 1,000 miles from the previous scene.

He compares the film to other adaptations of books, leaning heavily on movies that were up for Oscars, including The Reader, calling it “[a] leaden, lifeless movie killed by respectability,” and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, stating, “It doesn’t finally have anything to say.” Funny, I've heard others say the same thing about Benjamin Button... makes you wonder why it was nominated at all.

Rushdie attacked what he called “bad social adaptations, when people cave in to fear and censor themselves or others." He urged people and society to "honor essential truths."

That's maybe a little too much to ask of a "nation of cowards," as Attorney General Eric Holder recently described the good ol' US of A and the people who inhabit the land. An "essential truth" won't you agree? Clearly, many don't (most of them Fox News anchors and contributors), and Mr Holder finds himself on the receiving end of their wrath! But how else can one expect a "nation of cowards" to indeed react to being called a "nation of cowards?"

Nyuck... nyuck... nyuck...

Happy Monday!

via AJC


  1. Undercover Black Man said...

    Well, Sean Penn earned his.

    And I enjoyed the ceremony itself. That whole deal with having five previous winners introduce the acting nominees... loved that.

    Didn't it look like Shirley MacLaine ad libbed hers and spoke from the heart (while everybody else stuck to what was written)?

  2. The Wendilicious Wonder said...

    Slumdog was a sweet movie, and yes, I also expected it to win most of the accolades it was nominated for, but only because it came out at the right time - i.e. when Westerners, with their economy and way of life going to sh!t, need to feel good (read superior) about themselves - not because it was a particularly brilliant film.

    I'm not Indian and have never been there either. Suffice to say, however, I'd wager that if a Nollywoodesque movie were ever to win an oscar, it would be rife with juju, 419 and state official corruption aplenty! And somewhere in there there'd be a touching, if a little saccharin, love story. Oh, and it would have to be helmed by a white director, naturally.


    And ditto what Rushdie said about The Reader and Benjamin Button... Although at least Slumdog and BB were engaging!

  3. bklyn6 said...

    I must be the only black person in America who hasn't seen a Tyler Perry film.

    As for what AG Eric Holder said, I think he's correct. I'm always amazed by people who scoff at the truth.

  4. SolShine7 said...

    Undercover, I agree on the Shirley MacLaine speech. It was a nice moment! They should keep that format, past winners saluting the new nominees.

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