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Critical and Commercial Acclaim Not Enough to Get ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ ‘Creed,’ Golden Globe Nominations

After yesterday’s 2016 Golden Globe nomination announcements, there were a lot of mixed emotions.  In an awards season with no clear cut favorites, many held out hope for multiple nominations of Black talent in key categories.

The Golden Globes are built up as the essential precursor to the Academy Awards.  There were many Black actors who received nominations— Idris Elba’s fierce performance in the Netflix exclusive Beasts of No Nation was recognized in the Best Supporting Actor category, and Will Smith was nominated for Best Lead Actor-Drama for Concussion.  There were also several nods in television for Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder), Queen Latifah (Bessie), Regina King (American Crime), David Oyelowo (Nightingale), and Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black).

However, there were also glaring snubs in other key categories. Despite voicing the lead character in the hit animated film Home, none of the three songs Rihanna contributed to the film’s soundtrack, “Towards The Sun,” “As Real as You and Me,” and “Dancing in the Dark,” were nominated.  More surprising snubs came when both Straight Outta Compton and Creed were left out despite being touted as possible Best Picture contenders.  Both films were even named as Top Ten Films by The National Board of Review.

The cumulative average Rotten Tomatoes scores of all 10 Golden Globes best picture nominations in both comedy and drama is 88.3 percent.  For reasons unbeknownst to most earthlings, The Martian was nominated in Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy category.  Though The Martian is an entertaining film with funny moments, it’s not a pure comedy like the other films it was nominated alongside.  If this is legit criteria, Straight Outta Compton could have also been nominated, as it is also a crowd-pleasing dramatic film with strong comedic elements.

Boasting a 89 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and domestic box office total of $161 million, Straight Out of Compton made more money domestically than any other film, except The MartianStraight Outta Compton continues to be a pop culture flash point.  The ensemble cast was even nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.  Despite F. Gary Gray’s direction being praised among top critics, his name was left on the cutting room floor in the Best Director category.

Creed has been a box office champ, so far bringing in $68 million in three weeks of release and scoring a 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.  Sylvester Stallone gave a fantastic performance and should be honored, but as an overall film, Creed could have earned more recognition.  Director Ryan Coogler has been praised for crafting authentic fight scenes and a genuine, heartfelt narrative.  Michael B. Jordan’s physical and emotional transformation into Adonis Creed gave the film it’s pulse.

This isn’t sour grapes as much as they are facts— both Creed and Straight Outta Compton stand up as two of the best films of the year by any measure.  They could also help bring in viewers who would not watch the telecast otherwise.  Nominations should be given when deserved, especially with an event that’s seen as a precursor to the Academy Awards.

Hopefully when the Oscar nominations are announced, some of these snubs will be rectified.

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