How things have changed in a year! After the hard-fought win of “12 Years a Slave”s triumph, winning the Best Picture Oscar, something I wished and wished and hoped for to happen (and wrote a gazillion raves about it all over this blog & the Internet) now comes the beautiful British film “Belle.” I’ve just seen it and it’s not opening til later this Spring, or maybe even the summer.And it’s magnificent in every way.
And British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw is its’ scintillating new black star, who reduced the NYC preview audience to tears and thunderous, repeated applause at the wonderful screening I just attended. I heard many people audibly sniffling at the film’s ending and the applause was genuine as the credits came up at a screening full of AMPAS members.
I want to save my full-on rave for the film’s release, but what I’m so excited about it, is that not only is it SUCH a beautifully made historic movie, Gugu is splendiferous as its’ title role “Belle.” Based on a true story, set in England before slavery was abolished there. But it’s being released by FOX SEARCHLIGHT, people!!!
Yes, Fox Searchlight who fought the harder than imaginable fight to get “12 Years a Slave” the three Oscars it won(it should’ve won more) but it also has a BLACK WOMAN director Amma Asante and is also written by a woman of color, too! Misan Sagay! Could all THREE of these wonderful women break through Oscar color barriers this year, the way “12 Years”, Lupita Nyong’o and John Ridley(the screenwriter) and Fox Searchlight did just last month??
Last year, or rather last month, Steve McQueen was one of I think only two directors of color to ever be nominated for Best Director. And now comes A BLACK BRITISH WOMAN director to be reckoned with, Mr. Oscar, sir.
I’m telling you it’s highly possible and Gugu is just magnificent, moving, superb as Belle, a mulato woman who was born and raised as a free aristocratic lady in the 1700s.
Will Oscar go Ga Ga for GuGu? I think so.
Stay tuned. There’s much, much more to tell. It’s not opening til May or maybe later. But is Fox Searchlight, who now has another bona fide contender in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, gonna to push Gugu and “Belle” in to contention? I think they SHOULD. But you heard it here first!