With the Golden Globes and the Grammy’s behind us and the Oscars up ahead, we can’t stop thinking about the last year in entertainment. One of our favorite culture bloggers, Aisha Harris, came through to recommend some killer reads about the movies, awards controversies, and pop culture phenomenons that took over our lives in the last year.
Aisha Harris is a culture blogger for Slate whose impressive body of work includes articles for the New York Times Online and appearances on TV and radio outlets like NPR, the BBC, and MSNBC. If you’re not already reading Aisha’s work, check out some of her writing at Slate. Go ahead. We’ll wait. When you’re done, read on for some of Aisha’s top picks.
The Best And Worst Of Hollywood
The Oscar nominations are out, and everybody is buzzing about the controversy over the Academy’s picks. But before we get to that, we’d like to recognize some of the projects and people the Academy might have overlooked, like Spike Lee’s characteristically uncompromising musical drama Chi-Raq. For more like this, Aisha recommends Richard Brody’s in-depth roundup of 2015’s best films at The New Yorker.
But for every Chi-Raq pulling out in front, there’s a The Cobbler bringing up the rear (thank you, Adam Sandler). To celebrate these low points, Aisha points us to David Ehrlich’s Slate article ripping some of Hollywood’s biggest failures from 2015 to hilarious shreds.
The 2016 Academy Awards
With a collection of picks noticeably short of actors and filmmakers of color, this year’s Oscar nominations were controversial as soon as they were announced. Some, like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, even promised to boycott the show. In her article on the topic, Aisha writes eloquently about why she thinks these celebrities should consider acting more like, of all people, Eddie Murphy.
That’s not all the Oscar intrigue out there, though. With the Golden Globes and the SAGs in the can, Oscar speculation is running rampant. Is it finally Leo’s time? Find out what the SAG results might mean for the upcoming awards in another of Aisha’s great pieces.
Representation Of Minorities In Movies
If the Oscar controversy has taught us anything, it’s how important representation in the industry is. Without Ryan Coogler behind the camera, for instance, we never would have gotten Creed – one of 2015’s most popular and critically acclaimed films. In this interview, he talks about putting the Philadelphia he knows on the screen and his desire to see more women behind the camera.
Making over $170 million worldwide, the success of Creed has many people wondering, not for the first time, why movies like this don’t get made more often. Aisha points us to this great read by Ashley Clark at The Guardian that digs a little deeper into important questions like these.
The Personal Power of Cinema
Ultimately, though, the power of film comes down to how the audience connects with what they see on the screen. In this powerful article by Jazmine Hughes, she talks about how something that seems small, like dressing up as a popular TV character, can lead to very real personal improvement.
And if what we see on the screen can help us re-imagine ourselves, it can just as easily help us reimagine our relationships with others. Sulagna Misra at The Cut has some fascinating things to say about masculinity and the seemingly silly practice of picking internet boyfriends. Maybe that explains why so many are swooning over Making a Murderer’s Dean Strang!
Like what you see here? Check out Aisha’s full folder of recommended Award’s Season Reads!