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January 2008

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COMMENTARY by Editor Wilson Morales

As we close out one year, and enter another, it's time to reflect on the year that brought out many exceptional performances and gave the black industry a serious boost in business from the all facets.

The year started with a bang as ‘Dreamgirls’ was nominated for Best Picture and Jennifer Hudson went on to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film. Forest Whitaker would be the first actor since Nicolas Cage in ’95 to win every critic award and the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland’.

Not every one walked out the Oscars feeling like winners as Eddie Murphy would lose in his bid for a gold trophy but would later get back to do what he does best, which is make us laugh with his multiple roles in ‘Norbit’, a financial success at the box office.

Tyler Perry took a gamble by not appearing in his film ‘Daddy’s Little Girls’, and while the box office numbers weren’t the same as his other outings (Madea’s Family Reunion, and ‘Diary of a Mad Black Woman), it still performed better than most African American films. He would proved to the industry that he is a force to be reckoned with when his other film ‘Why Did I Get Married?’ shattered every box office predictions with more $20 million dollars at the gate during its opening weekend. The film also brought back Janet Jackson in the film game and showed breakout performances from Jill Scott and Tasha Smith.

While Perry was doing well on one end, Rainforest Films (Will Packer and Rob Hardy) did so on the other as they stepped their game up with hits on ‘Stomp The Yard’ and ‘This Christmas’. These guys have come a long way from the days of producing smaller films like ‘Trois’ and ‘The Gospel’.

Denzel Washington continued to do what he does best and everyone came out, despite bootleg copies in the streets, to support him in ‘American Gangster’. It was nice to see legendary actress Ruby Dee back in a major film. Not only did Washington do that film, but with Oprah Winfrey’s backing, he got his lifelong project ‘The Great Debaters’ off the ground, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.

As 2007 fades away, Will Smith made a lasting impression when his one-man show ‘I Am Legend’ opened up with over $76 million dollars, a new box office record for December.

And finally, we must pay respects to the talent that paved the way for many to be in this business and helped spread the word within the black community. Veterans like Ousmane Sembène, Roscoe Lee Browne, and Calvin Lockhart will be missed.


Please send any comments to Wilson@blackfilm.com


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