The story of a strong-willed woman who makes her brother-in-laws’ lives miserable was this year’s most nominated film for the 2004 Black Reel Awards. Deliver Us From Eva led the pack with six nominations, including Best Actor (LL Cool J) and Best Actress (Gabrielle Union). Although it garnered the most nominees it failed to deliver one in the biggest category – Best Picture.
The Fifth Annual Black Reel Awards will feature 46 nominees in the film categories. This year’s nominees for Best Picture featured a documentary saluting a hip-hop icon (Tupac: Resurrection), a police chief in a small southern time conducting an investigation into a crime that pits him as the prime suspect (Out of Time), a misguided ad executive who regains his sense of self by forming a gospel choir (The Fighting Temptations), and two remakes; one about an attempt by a group of thieves who gain revenge on a former colleague who stole from them (The Italian Job) and another group of police officers who band together bring down drug cartel leader (S.W.A.T.).
One constant in the Best Actor race is Denzel Washington. He received his fifth consecutive Best Actor nomination for Out of Time. Previously Washington has been recognized for The Hurricane (2000), Remember the Titans (2001), Training Day (2002) and John Q (2003). Washington also received nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Director last year both for Antwone Fisher.
Another actor who returns to the Best Actor race after a couple years is Cuba Gooding, Jr. for Radio. Gooding previously received a nomination in 2001 for Men of Honor. First time nominees include Wentworth Miller (a double nominee also for Best Breakthrough Performance in The Human Stain), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) and Smith in Eva.
This year’s group of esteemed Best Actress nominees has ten previous nominations to their credit. Four of the five ladies in the category are previous Black Reel Award nominees. The group includes last year’s Best Supporting Actress nominee and winner, Queen Latifah in the spring comedy surprise Bringing Down the House, three-time nominee Sanaa Lathan in Out of Time, four-time nominee Halle Berry in Gothika and two-time nominee Union in Eva. Rounding out the group is first-timer Beyonce Knowles in The Fighting Temptations.
Competing in the competitive Best Supporting Actor category are four-time Black Reel Award nominee Ving Rhames (Dark Blue) and two three-time nominees, Morgan Freeman (Bruce Almighty) and Forrest Whitaker (Phone Booth). Rounding out the category are two first-time nominees Djimon Hounsou (In America) and Mos Def (The Italian Job).
Two-time nominee Vivica A. Fox returns to the Black Reel Awards with her portrayal in Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Other supporting actress nominees include Anna Devere Smith (The Human Stain), Michael Michelle (Dark Blue) and two ladies playing the same role in two different films, the late Gloria Foster (The Matrix Reloaded) and Mary Alice (The Matrix Revolutions).
The Best Director/Film category features a list of familiar names, including three previous nominees. This year’s nominees are John Singleton (2 Fast 2 Furious), Antoine Fuqua (Tears of the Sun) and Gary Hardwick (Deliver Us From Eva). Other nominees in this category include F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) and Carl Franklin (Out of Time).
In the TV category, 28 nominees will vie for top Black Reel Award honors. Sounder, Good Fences (six nominations each) and Deacons for Defense (five nominations) will battle for Best TV Film. Standout in the TV acting categories include two-time Black Reel Award nominee Jeffrey Wright (Angels in America), Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover (both for Good Fences) and Whitaker (Deacons for Defense).
The Outstanding TV category features five diverse, yet effective specials. HBO weighed in with its superb special, Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives. Also competing in his category are the powerful PBS specials’ The Murder of Emmett Till and Point of View: Bayard Rustin. Critics raised their fist for Hell Up in Hollywood and Washington was showered with love in Hollywood Celebrates Denzel Washington: An American Cinematheque Celebration.
Two Special Achievement Awards have been created to honor exemplary performers or performances. Receiving our inaugural honors are Brazil’s City of God (Best Foreign Film) and the South African apartheid documentary, Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony.
Film fans are invited to participate in the online awards at http://www.reelimagesmagazine.com/, where they will find their favorite actors and actresses and films. Voting will conclude on Saturday, February 15, 2003. The Fifth Annual Black Reel Award winners will be announced on Sunday, February 22, 2004 at H20 on the Waterfront in Washington, DC.
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