Oscars 2023: The director of ‘Till’, Chinonye Chukwu, denounces racism

Oscars 2023: The director of ‘Till’, Chinonye Chukwu, denounces racism

“Till” director Chinonye Chukwu did not mince words in responding Tuesday to the Oscars’ failure to nominate films starring black women.

“We live in a world and work in industries that are so aggressively committed to defending whiteness and perpetuating blatant misogyny towards Black women,” she wrote on Instagram in a caption of herself with civil rights icon Myrlie Evers-Williams. .

One of the biggest themes to emerge from Tuesday’s Oscar nominations was the glaring omission of films starring black women, including the snub of “Till” star Danielle Deadwyler, who was widely expected to be nominated for Best Actress for his actions as a civilian. human rights activist Mamie Till-Mobley. In addition, the widely acclaimed historical epic “The Woman King,” directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, did not receive a single nomination in any category, not even in the technical or craft categories, despite its impressive scale and scope. Those snubs include Prince-Bythewood, star and producer Viola Davis, and all of the black women cast in the film.

Overall, no black actors were nominated for lead roles. Among the 20 actors nominated, Angela Bassett was the only black woman nominated, for her supporting role in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” 30 years after receiving her first (and so far only) Oscar nomination as Tina Turner in “What’s Sees it”. It has to do with that.

The Oscars have had an abysmal record of overlooking black stories in general and failing to nominate black women in particular. Davis and Bassett are among the handful of black women who have previously received Oscar nominations for leading roles. And in the 95-year history of the Oscars, only one black woman has won a best actress Oscar: Halle Berry for the 2001 film “Monster’s Ball.”

Behind the camera, no black woman has been nominated for Best Director. That embarrassing streak continued Tuesday, as no women were nominated to direct.

“Till” director Chinonye Chukwu and star Danielle Deadwyler during a screening of the film in Chicago in October.

Barry Brecheisen via Getty Images

Chukwu previously directed the acclaimed independent drama “Clemency” starring Alfre Woodard. After winning the Grand Jury Prize when it premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, she, too, was passed over by many award bodies later that year.

In her post, she touched on the ways that many Black women and other artists from underrepresented communities have often had to create their own opportunities in spaces where they have historically been excluded.

“I will always be grateful for the greatest lesson of my life: regardless of any challenge or obstacle, I will always have the power to cultivate my own joy, and it is this joy that will continue to be one of my greatest forms of resilience. ,” she wrote.

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