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2012 BET Awards Nominees Announced; Revisiting 2011 Backlash Over Film Category Noms

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 23, 2012 at 10:08AM

In case you haven't heard, the nominees for the 2012 BET Awards were unveiled last night, with categories in both musc and film as always.
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bet awards

In case you haven't heard, the nominees for the 2012 BET Awards were unveiled last night, with categories in both musc and film as always.

And since we care more about the film categories here on S&A, we'll focus on those alone. I'm sure you can find the full list of all nominees with a quick Google search.

Samuel L. Jackson is set to host the July 1 awards ceremony, to be held at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditoriumas black Hollywood struts its wears down the red carpet, prepped and primed to give and/or receive. It'll be a night of music, movies, laughter, with likely an unexpected occurrence or two, all while Twitter feeds explode with commentary from viewers, ranging from abhorrent to awesome.

Will you be tuning in? Do you care?

Last year's awards show drew 7.7 million viewers on BET.

You'll recall the backlash that followed after the nominees for the 2011 BET Awards were announced, with a lot of folks feeling 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 was apparently quite overwhelming that BET chose to eventually formally respond; and they did so via Stephen Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials, and the executive producer of the BET Awards.

No immediate backlash yet so far this year, so a good sign that most are pleased with the selections (or just don't care, or a combo of both). You can read BET's response to last year's backlash HERE, in full, but here are 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 consider diversifying even more.

Next... last year, 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 last year were released after April, and Eli was released in January, I'm guessing the "eligibility period" might begin in April?? And in case you're wondering, or have forgotten, the films nominated in the final Best Movie category last year were... Death at a FuneralFor Colored GirlsTakers and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, Too?.

And lastly, still in a film-related category... Chris Brown's nomination in the Best Actor category in 2011 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 were the other actors nominated in the Best Actor category last year? Laz AlonsoDon CheadleIdris Elba, and Jamie Foxx. If I remember correctly, many were shocked that Chris Brown, Laz Alonso (in a supporting role), and Jamie Foxx in a thankless performance, got the nod over Anthony Mackie in Night Catches Us - stressing the BET Awards lack of indie representation, and further emphasizing my point about them diversifying their pool of voters.

There wasn't any public pushback against the nominees in the Best Actress category last year, so there was nothing there for BET/Stephen Hill to respond to.

But the actresses nominated in the Best Actress category were Kerry Washington, Halle BerryTaraji P. HensonRegina KingZoë Saldana.

Fast-forward a year later, to the list of 2012 BET Awards nominees; looking over all I shared above, and the list of 2012 nominees below, would you say much of the thinking behind the awards has changed:

Best Actress: Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Regina King, Zoe Saldana

Best Actor: Don Cheadle, Common, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Denzel Washington

Best Movie: Good Deeds, Jumping The Broom, Laugh At My Pain, Red Tails, The Help


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