Larsen’s novel explores the practice of passing as a race different from one’s own. “Passing” focuses on childhood friends, Irene Redfield and Clare Kendry, who reconnect in adulthood. Kendry passes as White, but longs for connection with Redfield and her life in Harlem’s Black community. The friends’ obsession with one another pushes their lives together in ways that prove risky for both women.
The critical acclaim that “Passing” earned after its 1929 publication cemented Larson’s legacy among the most celebrated authors of the Harlem Renaissance.
Reversing course from last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored “Moonlight,” “Fences,” “Hidden Figures” and other people of color-centered works with Oscar nominations today (January 24).
The three films, each of which features a predominantly Black cast, compete in the “Best Picture” and “Writing (Adapted Screenplay)” categories. Actresses Viola Davis (“Fences”), Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”) and Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”) also square off for best “Actress in a Supporting Role.”
“Moonlight”‘s eight nominations are the most of any film this year besides the musical “La La Land.” They include “Best Director” and “Writing (Adapted Screenplay)” for Barry Jenkins, and “Actor in a Supporting Role” for Mahershala Ali.
“Fences” star and director Denzel Washington received a best “Actor in a Leading Role” nomination. Playwright August Wilson‘s script, based on his original 1983 play, earned him a posthumous “Writing (Adapted Screenplay)” nod.
Other acting nominees of color include Ruth Negga (“Loving”) for “Actress in a Leading Role” and Dev Patel (“Lion”) for “Actor in a Supporting Role.” Patel is the first performer of South Asian descent to receive an acting Oscar nomination since Ben Kingsley for 2000’s “Sexy Beast.”
Ava DuVernay‘s “13th,” Raoul Peck‘s “I Am Not Your Negro” and Ezra Edelman‘s “O.J.: Made in America” each received Documentary (Feature) nominations. The category also includes another Black director’s work: Roger Ross Williams‘ “Life, Animated,” and Joi McMillon became the first black female to be nominated in the Editing category for “Moonlight.”
This year’s nominations are far more diverse overall than last year’s, and NBC News reports that this year’s acting nominee pool is the most diverse in Oscar history.
It seems as if last year’s #OscarsSoWhite backlash has had a marked effect on this year’s pool of projects and talent considered and honored as the 2017 awards season gets underway.
The 2017 Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, and nominees of color were found in the majority of film and television categories. Indie film sensation “Moonlight”not only garnered a nod for Best Motion Picture, Drama, but also for directing and screenwriting by Barry Jenkins, in the Best Actress category for Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali was recognized in the supporting actor category.
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were honored for their performances in “Fences”, Ruth Negga was nominated for her leading role in “Loving,” and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer grabbed a nomination for her supporting role in the upcoming space race drama “Hidden Figures.” Additionally, Pharrell Williams is in the running for Best Original Score — Motion Picture, for his work on the music for “Hidden Figures.”
On the television side, Donald Glover‘s “Atlanta” received nods in two categories; Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. Anthony Anderson provides some competition for Glover in the acting category, and “Black-ish” is nominated for Best Comedy Television Series as well. Tracee Ellis Ross gained a nod in the Lead Comedy Actress category, as did “Insecure” star Issa Rae.
In limited series, actress Thandie Newton was nominated for Westworld, and Kerry Washington‘s portrayal of Anita Hill in “Confirmation” was also acknowledged. Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance gained a nod for his work as Johnny Cochran in “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”and the series was nominated in the Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television category alongside Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley’s “American Crime.”
Ruth Negga is the January 2017 cover model for Vogue Magazine. The Irish-Ethiopian actress is starring in Loving, a film directed by Jeff Nichols, about an interracial couple who desire to be married in 1958 Virginia. Loving is the first full-length film to be screened at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Ruth delved to Vogue about growing up with interracial parents and losing her father at a young age. Ruth and her mother went to Ireland and was waiting for her father, but he died in Ethiopia in a car crash. She found out via a letter. “This was 1988. There wasn’t any grief counseling for kids.” Ruth admits to going to therapy in her early 30’s to deal with the loss of her father.
Ruth identifies as Irish-Ethiopian, adding, “I become very territorial about my identity because it’s been hijacked by so many people, with their own projections.” Deep and a struggle, many racially ambiguous women must address. Ruth explains, “I’m always very careful to say I’m Irish-Ethiopian because I feel Ethiopian and I look Ethiopian and I am Ethiopian. But there are 81 languages in Ethiopia, and I don’t know any of them.”
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Ruth Negga has been cast as the female lead in Preacher, AMC’s drama pilot based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s cult 1990s comic. The project, from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is about Jesse Custer, a conflicted Preacher in a small Texas town who merges with a creature that has escaped from heaven and develops the ability to make anyone do anything he says. Along with his ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Negga) — Jesse’s former and only true love — and an Irish vampire named Cassidy, the three embark on a journey to literally find God. Tulip is described as a volatile, action-packed, sexified force of nature, a capable, unrepentant criminal with a love of fashion and ability to construct helicopter-downing bazookas out of coffee cans and corn shine who’s not afraid to steal, kill or corn cob-stab her way out of a bad situation.
Negga is the first actor cast in Preacher, from Sony TV and AMC Studios. Agent Carter’s Dominic Cooper has been rumored for the lead, Jesse. Rogen and Goldberg developed the project for television and will direct the pilot, written by Sam Catlin who serves as showrunner.
Negga has comic book credentials with her recurring role as Raina on ABC’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. In features, she shot the titular role of the Irish drama Iona, directed by Scott Graham. Negga was recently seen in the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side and next plays Lady Taria in another high-profile genre project, Warcraft.
This marks the second consecutive comic book-based drama project, in which Sony has cast a minority actress as the female lead, drawn as Caucasian in the comics.Preacher joins the studio’s Playstation series Powers co-starring Susan Heyward.