Saturday, February 10, 2018

Our Oscar History, Black History and THE POST podcast

The countdown to the Oscars® telecast and Black History Month co-exist in the month of February.  Comedian/actor and Broadway devotee, Keith Price, and I have been talking about Oscar history and Black History on our podcast.  We would love for you to hear the current episode.  We give you Hollywood Oscar history from Hattie McDaniel's groundbreaking Best Supporting Actress Academy Award win for 1939's GONE WITH THE WIND to current nominations for MUDBOUND, a terrific film directed and by co-written by Dee Rees.
Singer/songwriter Mary J. Blige is a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for her memorable performance as the Mississippi Delta wife and mother who deals with racism in her community while her son fights for democracy overseas in World War II.  Rees (right) directed a film that should be in the Best Picture nominee category.
Another famous singer, a recording and Broadway star whose artistry gets a major chapter in Ken Burns' highly acclaimed JAZZ documentary, made Oscar history. She was Ethel Waters.  I tell Keith how she made that history.
I also tell Keith about some Hollywood history involving British actress Flora Robson.  She played Queen Elizabeth in 1940's THE SEA HAWK.
 She played one of the five convent nuns in 1947's classic, BLACK NARCISSUS.
In between those two films, Warner Bros. felt she'd be the perfect choice to play a black Haitian maid to Ingrid Bergman's lead character in the romantic drama, SARATOGA TRUNK.  I kid you not.
Ingrid Bergman had a special moment with African American actor James Baskett.  He's in the middle.  She's on the right of the photo.
Mr. Baskett played Uncle Remus in Disney's SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946) and introduced the Best Song Oscar winner, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah."

The score to that Disney film contained another song.  "Sooner or Later" was introduced by Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel who played the plantation cook friend to Uncle Remus.  Hattie sang it first.  Popular recording stars of the day followed.  Here's the song covered by Doris Day.

I paid to see Steven Spielberg's THE POST and I would pay to see it again in a heartbeat.  Wow.  What a fine film starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.  President Nixon was disrespecting the Constitution while young American men were dying in the Vietnam War, a war we couldn't win but that information was being covered up until The Washington Post really went to work and got its hands on The Pentagon Papers.  This is an important movie -- especially nowadays -- and I explain why in the podcast.  Here's a trailer.
I also disagree with a comment filmmaker Oliver Stone made about THE POST.

Please give us a listen.  Our Oscar History, Black History and appreciation for Meryl & Tom podcast is currently up at

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