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BET Brass Address 2011 Awards Backlash - Specifically, A Look At The Film/Actor Nominees

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 23, 2011 at 8:39AM

A slow news day post for a slow news day...
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A slow news day post for a slow news day...

Apparently, after the nominees for the 2011 BET Awards were announced last week, a lot of folks felt rather strongly about some of the names and titles that made the cut, as well as those that didn't, but many felt should have.

The backlash must have been quite overwhelming that BET chose to formally respond; and they did so via Stephen Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials, and the executive producer of the BET Awards.

You can read the entire thing HERE, but I thought I'd highlight a few noteworthy points, as they relate to this site.

First, and maybe most important, an answer to a question that I think a lot of us were not aware of previously, and were curious about; specifically, how exactly the nominees are chosen each year.

Hill's response: "Like every time, there’s a collection of music industry folks, bloggers, music writers and, most importantly, a collection of fans that were gleaned from BET.com. We call it the Voting Academy. We had fans, music writers, bloggers and music industry folks."

And I always just kind of figured it was solely an "insider" thing; it never crossed my mind that the process sort opinions from a seemingly diverse group of people, who appear to not be affiliated with the network. But I'd recommend they diversify even more. Like, since their "Voting Academy" includes bloggers, how about looking to those of us here at Shadow And Act to become a part of the "Academy" of voters?

Next... I obviously wasn't paying close enough attention, but apparently The Book of Eli was initially nominated for Best Movie, but, for some reason, it was later removed from consideration. Why?

Stephen Hill's response: "Okay, so in some of our passion, we don’t always get it right. The Book of Eli is now no longer in the Best Movie category. We had an enthusiastic Denzel Washington fan who threw The Book of Eli into the possibles for Movie of the Year. And there are so many Denzel Washington fans and Hughes Brothers fans out there that they voted it as one of the nominations. The problem was that that it didn’t come out during the eligibility period. So we’ve removed it from the nomination... It was a good movie, but we’ve removed it from the nominations. We realized that it was a mistake, but we’ve corrected that mistake."

I couldn't find any info on what the eligibility period is; Hill didn't say. But, given that all the other films nominated in this category were released after April, and Eli was released in January, I'm guessing the "eligibility period" might begin in April?? *shrug* And in case you're wondering, or have forgotten, the films nominated in the final Best Movie category are... Death at a Funeral, For Colored Girls, Takers, and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, Too?. Two for Tyler Perry!

And lastly, still in a film-related category... Chris Brown's nomination in the Best Actor category was questioned by many (including some of you here, if my memory serves me correctly).

Hill addressed that by stating: "My thought on that is as follows: We assembled the [Voting] Academy. We try to make it as varied as possible. But when the Academy comes back with their results—again, it’s not any of our individual shows—that’s the decision we’ve made, to trust the Academy. When they come back with a decision, we stick by that decision... I want to be very clear. It’s not like, “Oh, we like four of them but we wanna stick Chris Brown in as an actor.” That’s who they voted for. Between music industry folk, bloggers, writers and fans, Chris Brown was nominated for an acting award."

I'll repeat what I said already... they need to diversify their pool of voters. And who are the other actors nominated in the Best Actor category? Laz Alonso, Don Cheadle, Idris Elba, and Jamie Foxx/. And with that list, riddle me this folks... now I don't know what exactly their criteria is in the "Actor" categories, but, assuming April 2010 is indeed the cut-off, what has Jamie Foxx done in the last year that would warrant him being on this list? I just checked his IMDB resume, and Due Date is it! And how significant was his role in that movie? Same thing with Laz Alonso. The only 2010 film on his resume is Just Wright; but his was a peripheral role. Common was the male lead in that film! For Don Cheadle, it was Iron Man 2. And Idris really could be for 1 of 3 films - Takers, The Losers, and Legacy.

There wasn't any discussion of the nominees in the Best Actress category; but, on first glance, what immediately stands out to me is that, while For Colored Girls is nominated in the Best Film category, just one of the actresses in the film is nominated in the Best Actress category; and it's not even one of the actress that most agreed gave the best performances in the film; it's not Kimberly Elise, not Phylicia Rashaad, Anika Noni Rose, or even Thandie Newton; Kerry Washington got the nod. Not that hers wasn't a good performance, but I didn't think it was the strongest. Unless they are giving it to her for another performance, like in Mother and Child, or even Night Catches Us.

And speaking of Night Catches Us... how do Chris Brown, Laz Alonso (in a supporting role), and Jamie Foxx in a thankless performance, get the nod over Anthony Mackie in that film?

Lastly, by the way, in addition to Kerry Washington, these actresses are nominated in the Best Actress category Halle Berry, Taraji P. Henson, Regina King, Zoë Saldana.

The 2011 BET Awards ceremony airs on June 26th.

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., WTF?


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