30 Movies That Could Make the 2017 Oscars Less White ~ Sulagna Misra

The Oscar nominations are blindingly white for the second year in a row, so much so that Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the Board of Governors voted to change the rules for voting on the Oscars—the boldest move yet to bring real diversity to the membership and the awards themselves. Now the pressure is on for those changes to actually be reflected in the nominations, and lucky for the Academy voters, there seems to be no lack of choices for diverse films to nominate next year. It’s going to be hard to ignore these contenders—diverse stories that span the globe and history, both from directors and writers of color, and three featuring Idris Elba, just for good measure.

1. Vincent-n-Roxxy stars Zoë Kravitz, who was in Mad Max: Fury Road and the Divergentseries and this summer’s very excellent Dope. No doubt she’ll be flashing that clever smile of hers in the way only she can.

2. Oscar-winning and multi-nominee Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will get a sequel on Netflix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, with Michelle Yeohreturning and Glee’s Harry Shum Jr. (!) also starring. Releases February 26.

3. Amandla Stenberg stars in the 90s set As You Are, a movie about the friendship between three awkward, punk outcasts. Stenberg plays Sarah, a transracial adoptee to a white family in a predominantly white suburb.

Nate Parker in The Birth of a Nation.

Courtesy of Sundance

4. Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, which was part of a bidding war for distribution rights at Sundance, is the biopic about Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion in 1831. Yes, that title is a deliberate reference to a certain other Hollywood historical drama.

5. Are you sick of Oscar-nominated Wall Street films like The Wolf on Wall Street and The Big Short that barely feature any women? Indian-American director Meera Menon will hopefully change that with her new film, Equity, described as the “first female-driven Wall Street film.”

6. Moonlight, based on Tarell McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, stars André Holland (The Knick, Selma), Naomie Harris (Spectre), Janelle Monae (the woman behind albums Electric Lady and The ArchAndroid), and Mahershala Ali (House of Cards).

7. Belle director Amma Asante takes on A United Kingdom, the story of the first president of Botswana (David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma) and his wife (Rosamund Pike).

Lupita Nyong’o in Queen of Katwe.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

8. Oyelowo will also star in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, about Phiona Mutesi, the Ugandan chess prodigy, alongside Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

9. In Lion, Dev Patel stars as an Indian adoptee in Australia who goes back to India to find his family. The movie also features several Indian actors such as Tannishtha Chatterjee(Brick Lane).

10. Korean-American So Yong Kim directs the Sundance-debuting Lovesong (for which she also co-wrote the screenplay), about two female friends falling in love just as one of them is about to get married. Also starring Beasts of No Nation director Cary Joji Fukunaga!

Joe Seo Spa Night.

Courtesy of Sundance.

11. Andrew Ahn’s first feature length film, Spa Night, is about a closeted Korean teen struggling with how his sexuality might exclude him from his family. For his first short film, Dol (First Birthday), about a gay Korean man balancing identities, Ahn cast his family and screened it for them as a way of coming out.

13. Bastille Day: Idris Elba stops a terrorist attack in France.

14. A Hundred Streets: Idris Elba stars in a movie about London.

A scene from The Jungle Book.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

15. The Jungle Book: Idris Elba plays a child-eating tiger (bonus: with Lupita Nyong’o as a wolf). Opens April 15.

16. Golden Globe winner Gael García Bernal stars as a journalist who interviews the titular poet in Neruda (yes, that Pablo Neruda, whose love poems are everywhere).

17. Bernal also stars in this Werner Herzog penned drama Salt and Fire, about a scientist and the head of a large company working together against a volcano. Yes, you read that right.

18. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson voices a demigod in the Disney movie Moana, set in ancient Oceania, with the titular character played by native Hawaiian Auli’I Cravalho. Also featuring music from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda! Opens November 23.

Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers in Southside With You.

Courtesy of Sundance

19. At Sundance, Southside with You, about the Obamas’ first date, premiered at Sundance with critical acclaim for the actors, the love story, and filmmaking.

20. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’s Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amirpourreturns with the cannibalistic love story A Bad Batch, starring Jason Momoa. (The Hawaiian born actor will also star as Aquaman in Batman v Superman).

Royalty Hightower in The Fits.

Courtesy of Paul Yee

12. The Fits, which debuted at Sundance, is about an introverted tomboy (newcomer Royalty Hightower) deciding to join a dance troupe that becomes overwhelmed with mysterious spasms.

21. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story seems to be carrying on the newly minted Star Wars tradition of diversity with Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, and Forest Whitaker among the cast, plus yet another female lead with Felicity Jones. Opens December 16.

22. Meanwhile, The Force Awakens’s Finn, John Boyega, will star in The Circle, based on the book by David Eggers. Also starring Hermione (Emma Watson) and Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)!

A scene from Morris from America.

Courtesy of Sundance

23. In the drama Morris from America, which won two prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, comedian Craig Robinson changes things up to star as the father of a black teen who is struggling to fit in in his new country of Germany.

24. Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek continues to star in trippy stories about haunted men in Buster’s Mal Heart.

25. African-American director J.D. Dillard’s film Sleight, which premiered at Sundance, looks like it evokes the realism of Attack the Block but echoes Ex Machina’s “20 minutes into the future” mien.

26. House of Flying Daggers director Yimou Zhang’s The Great Wall centers on a mystery about the Great Wall of China. Starring Chinese people with actual lines, Pedro Pascal, and white guys Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe, too. Opens November 23.

Stephan James in Race.

Courtesy of Focus Features.

27. Race, opening February, is the movie on this list with the most apropos title. About Olympian Jesse Owens and his incredible achievements at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, the film stars Stephan James from Selma, plus Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons,and William Hurt.

28. Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua directs Denzel Washington—have you heard of him? He’s been in some things—once again in The Magnificent Seven. Opens September 23.

29. The RZA will direct Azealia Banks, Common, Jill Scott, Lorraine Toussaint, and Hana Mae Lee in Coco, about a twentysomething woman from Brooklyn who dreams of a hip-hop career before getting involved in her college’s slam-poetry scene. Opens March 11.

30. Don Cheadle directs and stars in Miles Ahead, about Miles Davis at a turning point in his musical career, with Emayatzy Corinealdi co-starring. Opens April 1.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s