Post By RelatedRelated Post
By: John “Hennry” Harris
Hollywood veteran actor Isaiah Washington has seen the mountain tops and the valleys of the fickle industry. The former “Grey’s Anatomy” television star feels that he was blackballed by Hollywood for the last 6 years after making disparaging remarks about the LGBT community. Those remarks eventually led to his dismissal from the top-rated show and Washington is once again receiving accolades for his Oscar-worthy performance as a serial killer in the critically acclaimed film “Blue Caprice“.
Washington’s intense portrait of John Allen Muhammad, the older conspirator in the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, has landed the 50-year-old father of three a Best Actor nomination at the 2013 Independent Film Awards. Admittedly pleased with the nomination, he shared a glaring perspective about the African-American roles potentially contending for the Academy Award this year.
Washington is challenging whether movies like “12 Years a Slave” and “The Butler” are steps forward for Hollywood and the roles available for Blacks in Hollywood.
“Kιllers and slaves, butlers and maids: it sounds like it’s going to be a great Oscar night for people,” Washington said in a recent interview.
Washington delved deeper into his riff with the Academy and the roles of the African-American males it honors.
“That’s why I turned down ‘Hustle and Flow.’ Whoever said this role would possibly be nominated for an Oscar, like Morgan [Freeman] playing a pimp [in ‘Street Smart’]. Denzel [Washington] won for playing a slave crying one tear, and playing the most horrible human being that the world thought was the sexiest cop in ‘Training Day.’ It doesn’t stray from the formula.”
Washington noted that all the performances were fabulous, but references Octavia Spencer’s role in “The Maid” to drive his point home. He says the actress is known around the world for her character putting feces in the pie and it reflects back to the first African-American to win an Oscar in 1939: Hattie McDaniel for playing a maid in “Gone with the Wind.”
Washington is not declining the honor of a nomination, nor does the actor dismiss movies like “12 Years a Slave” and “The Butler”.
He explained, “The narrative of slaves and butlers is interesting. I come from a family of domestics. My grandmother was a maid and a nanny. My father was a porter.”
“The world has seen African Americans as slaves and maids and butlers.”
Washington simply dreams of the day where Hollywood respects and portrays the complexity of Black culture on screen.
Do you agree with Isiah Washington?