In honor of Black History Month, we’ll be featuring black movie churches at this site. Not African American movie churches, because at least one of the churches will be an African church. (We hope to avoid such mistakes common in the press, such as referring to Ruth Negga, nominated as best actress this year for the film Loving, as an African American woman even though she’s not American -- she’s Irish and Ethiopian.)
Last year there was quite a brouhaha over the lack of racial diversity in the nominations for the Academy Awards. The omission of Selma in 2015 from the nominees for best actor (and most of the other major awards) led to the hashtag #Oscarssowhite. The controversy seems to have died down a bit this year, with a record number of six black actors nominated in the acting categories. Barry Jenkins has been nominated for best director for Moonlight. He’s only the fourth black director to be nominated for an Oscar (none have yet won). Four out of the five entries in the documentary feature category are films made by people of color about people of color (Ava DuVernay is the first black woman nominated in the category, for 13th).
Three of the nine features nominated for Best Picture, Fences, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight, tell stories about African American characters.
Hidden Figures even features a more than decent Movie Church. Later in the month we’ll be looking at all the all the films nominated for Best Picture and discussing whether or not churches are featured in the films, but before that, look for the first of our Black Movie Churches on Friday: the 2005 musical drama, The Gospel.