Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’

The Birth of a Nation Sundance
Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Debuting writer-director Nate Parker stars in this searingly impressive account of the Nat Turner slave rebellion.

It speaks to his ambition that the writer, director, producer and actor Nate Parker chose to title his slavery drama “The Birth of a Nation,” though the film would be a significant achievement by any name. Arriving more than a century after D.W. Griffith’s epic lit up the screen with racist images forever destined to rankle and provoke, this powerfully confrontational account of Nat Turner’s life and the slave rebellion he led in 1831 seeks to purify and reclaim a motion-picture medium that has only just begun to treat America’s “peculiar institution” with anything like the honesty it deserves. If “12 Years a Slave” felt like a breakthrough on that score, then Parker’s more conventionally told but still searingly impressive debut feature pushes the conversation further still: A biographical drama steeped equally in grace and horror, it builds to a brutal finale that will stir deep emotion and inevitable unease. But the film is perhaps even more accomplished as a theological provocation, one that grapples fearlessly with the intense spiritual convictions that drove Turner to do what he had previously considered unthinkable.

Certain to be the most widely discussed and rousingly received film in the U.S. dramatic competition at Sundance this year, “The Birth of a Nation” comes to us at a particularly fortuitous cultural moment; not unlike “12 Years a Slave” and “Selma” before it, the movie occupies that rare space where our ongoing conversation about racial injustice converges with the film industry’s slow-dawning awareness of the lack of diversity in its ranks. As a result, this artfully modulated but fitfully grueling picture presents both an obvious challenge and a potentially rich commercial prospect for a distributor willing to match Parker’s passion with its own. Careful positioning, too, will be needed to target open-minded faith-based audiences, and also to address the inevitable backlash in some quarters, given that the film presents its climactic violence in complicated but unmistakably heroic terms.

No film worthy of this particular historical subject could hope or expect to avoid controversy, and Parker’s well-researched screenplay (based on a story he wrote with Jean McGianni Celestin) offers its own bold take on the widely contested narrative of Turner, a Virginia-born slave and Baptist preacher who led the uprising that claimed 60 white lives and led to the killings of 200 blacks in retaliation, and served as a crucial moment of insurrection en route to the Civil War three decades later. But “The Birth of a Nation” commences long before those fateful events, with a series of scenes observing the Nat’s childhood on a cotton plantation in Southampton County, Va., owned by the white Turner family from which the boy took his surname.

In opening and recurring scenes that remind us of the land and traditions from which these black men and women were uprooted, young Nat (Tony Espinosa) experiences eerie dreams of his African ancestors, anointing him as a future leader and prophet as marked by the circular scars on his chest. “It’s not real,” his mother (Aunjanue Ellis) tells him when he awakens from one of these startling visions, though there’s no relief from the nightmare of their everyday reality — and as it is, they have a somewhat easier time than many of the other plantation slaves in Southampton County. Nat is allowed to run and play with the young Turner heir, Samuel (Griffin Freeman), and he’s treated kindly by Samuel’s mother, Elizabeth (Penelope Ann Miller), who, upon discovering that Nat can read, encourages his studies by giving him a Bible.

Years later, despite having grown up picking cotton alongside his family in the fields, Nat (now played by Parker, superbly) is a soulful preacher with enough of a rapport with his master Samuel (Armie Hammer) to persuade him to buy a young slave, Cherry (Aja Naomi King), sparing her from a fate even worse than what she’s already endured. Cherry is brought to the plantation, and before long she and Nat fall in love, marry and have a daughter, in scenes that afford a warm glimpse of their close-knit, God-fearing community. Far from sentimentalizing their experience, however, these moments offer only fleeting respite from a life of continual hardship and menace, whether it’s Nat making the mistake of addressing a white woman, or Cherry falling into the hands of the cruel Raymond Cobb (a terrifying Jackie Earle Haley), with devastating consequences.

It’s no surprise the white slaveowners are getting antsy, with talk of insurrection and rumors of violence in the air. Spying an opportunity, the sleazy, self-interested Rev. Walthall (Mark Boone Jr.) convinces Samuel to rent Nat out to other plantations as a visiting preacher, as many slaveowners will pay good money to have a black man address his fellow brothers and sisters, and hopefully quell any revolutionary impulses with a gospel of peace (aka subservience). What makes this development so bracingly ironic is that it’s Nat’s exposure to the appalling mistreatment of blacks in other parts of Virginia that convinces him a few encouraging sermons will no longer be enough. After a borderline-unwatchable scene in which he sees a slave being brutally tortured and force-fed, Nat experiences a reawakening. “I pray you sing to the Lord a new song,” he instructs his humble congregation, and it’s clear that he means to take his own advice.

Parker demonstrates a fine touch with actors (Dwight Henry, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith and Gabrielle Union round out the excellent cast), and his command of mise-en-scene would be impressive even coming from a more seasoned filmmaker. While the movie was shot entirely on location in Savannah, Ga., the visual reconstruction of antebellum Virginia is outstanding: From the drooping willows and white plantation houses of Geoffrey Kirkland’s production design to the muted, bluish cast of Elliot Davis’ widescreen compositions, the movie offers a vision at once nightmarish and painterly. As edited with measured intelligence by Steven Rosenblum (with the exception of one too-slick montage) and set to the stirring if sometimes overly vigorous accompaniment of Henry Jackman’s score, these images conspire to lure us into a world even when the barbarism pushes us away.

But the film’s most resonant element isn’t its physical realization so much as its spiritual and intellectual acuity, and it skillfully draws us into Nat’s endless internal debate as he presses himself and God about his next course of action. If “12 Years a Slave” astutely mapped out both the ruthless economic machinery of American slavery and the complicity of white Christians who used the Bible to cow their slaves into silence, then “The Birth of a Nation” delves even further into this unholy nexus of capitalism and religion, and Parker’s performance becomes a study in escalating outrage. A figure of warm, earthy saintliness for much of the movie, the actor (“Beyond the Lights,” “Arbitrage”) slowly traces Turner’s moral hardening by incremental degrees, driven by his deepening engagement with Scripture (“Do not become slaves to men,” he quotes at one point, and some believers in the audience might well also turn to “Faith without works is dead”). But he is also driven by his own worsening mistreatment at the hands of Samuel, whom Hammer convincingly embodies as a man whose decency turns out to be strictly conditional.

Turner’s own shift from Christlike grace to Jehovah-style wrath is not without its heavy-handed moments: One crucial scene, in particular, would play infinitely better without the obtrusive positioning of a stained-glass window, and the cutaways to Turner’s ancestral visions begin to verge on kitsch. But at its core, this is as intelligent and probing an inquiry into the uses and abuses of organized religion as we’ve seen in recent American movies, and also the rare slavery drama in which it’s the ideas, far more than the whipping and lynching scenes, that provide the deepest impact. Historians will have a field day debating the accuracy of the man’s dramatic trajectory (as they have since even before the publication of William Styron’s much-disputed 1967 novel, “The Confessions of Nat Turner”), and the urge to contradict a black filmmaker’s interpretation of history will of course be a hard one for many commentators to resist.

The most vigorous discussion will center on the film’s ferocious, frustrating and inescapably cathartic climax, in which the tremendous strengths of its classical storytelling, as well as its dramatic lapses, stand in perhaps the sharpest relief. Parker’s filmmaking suddenly shifts into the brutal, blood-soaked idiom of the war movie, in which various shades of moral gray are resolved in a queasy eruption of red (at the first Sundance screening, the applause that greeted certain killings proved as telling as the anxious hush that followed others). The Christ-figure overtones hover ever more stirringly, and disturbingly, over the movie’s final moments, and you may be forgiven if your mind drifts for a moment toward “Braveheart.” The movie can be forgiven as well. “The Birth of a Nation” exists to provoke a serious debate about the necessity and limitations of empathy, the morality of retaliatory violence, and the ongoing black struggle for justice and equality in this country. It earns that debate and then some.

Film Review: ‘The Birth of a Nation’

Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 25, 2016. Running time: 118 MIN.

Production

A Bron Studios, Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures, Tiny Giant Prods. presentation, in association with Novofam Prods., Follow Through Prods., Infinity Entertainment, Oster Media, Point Made Films, Liberty and Justice Prods., Yesternight Entertainment, Hit 55 Ventures and Creative Wealth Media Financing. Produced by Nate Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert, Preston L. Holmes. Executive producers, David S. Goyer, Michael Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Andy Pollack, Allan J. Stitt, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl H. Linder III, Derrick Brooks, Jill Ahrens, Ryan Ahrens, Armind Tehrany, Edward Zwick, Mark Moran. Co-producers, Zak Tanjeloff, Matt Lindner, Harrison Kreiss, Ike Waldhaus, Benjamin Renzo. Co-executive producers, Brenda Gilbert, Steven Thibault, Lori Massini.

Crew

Directed, written by Nate Parker; story, Parker, Jean McGianni Celestin. Camera (color, Arri Alexa/Red Dragon HD), Elliot Davis; editor, Steven Rosenblum; music, Henry Jackman; production designer, Geoffrey Kirkland; art director, Jack Ballance; set decorator, Jim Ferrell; costume designer, Francine Jamison-Tanchuck; sound, Whitney Ince; supervising sound editor/sound designer, Mac Smith; supervising sound designer, Brandon Proctor; re-recording mixers, Proctor, Zach Martin; special effects supervisor, Heath Hood; special effects coordinator, Trey Gordon; visual effects supervisor, George A. Loucas; visual effects producer, Joshua Spivack; visual effects, Baked FX; stunt coordinator, Guss Williams; associate producer, Dan McClure; casting, Mary Vernieu, Michelle Wade Byrd.

With

Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Tony Espinosa, Jayson Warner Smith, Jason Stuart.

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  1. Tov Meod says:

    I urge Ben Carson to see this important film. Perhaps he will be touched in some way (new to him), and connected to thoughts of those “black immigrants” whom he still seems convinced came to America willingly chained in the bowels os slave ships to seek opportunities for a new life. An absurd man whose only actual accomplishment might be having become a doctor. Carson owes respect to his forebears and appreciation for their centuries of struggle to achieve the freedom and education he has enjoyed. I choose not to educate him on his and American history- a legacy each of us must grapple with and try to understand. I excoriate him for the stupidity and careless insensitivity of his remarks. My brother has had a long career as a neurosurgeon who has never forgotten or violated his oath to “Do no harm.” Carson shames his profession and humanity by having none.

  2. New review and historical critique of Nate Parker’s ‘Birth of a Nation.’ A different perspective on the film that sheds light on the man and the rebellion.

  3. John Karr says:

    What does the critic mean, “carefully researched”? The entire back story, almost all the events before the actual uprising, are fiction. There isn’t much biographical information on Turner, but what there is, as well as an essay Parker wrote about what he wanted his film to be, is refuted.

  4. djblackhd says:

    Here’s a app that I made for people to say what they want to say to the world, please take the time to say something. thank you: https://goo.gl/e9aSmU

  5. Eli M Davis says:

    The story of literacy
    As I watched this depiction of life and the power of literacy, I could not separate Nate Parker from Nat Turner; they are one in the same. But to leave it at that will negate the connections of subjugation within this story wound tightly through my life, the life of my grandparents, my father, my mother, my brother, my sisters, my daughter, my son and my T would loosen the movie’s grip that it has placed on me.
    We are products of white human ideological reign of terror on black bodies. While I watched this movie, it did not conjure historical sentiments of trauma, nor did I want to kill; I simply felt, and cried. I did not weep for the images portrayed over a century ago. I cried for Nate Parker’s current persecution. I cried replaying his interview with Robin Robins in my mind, he did a day before the release of this movie, as he explained to her “And I said it last night, I was falsely accused. I was proven innocent, and I’m not going to apologize for that. I feel terribly about that situation, but at some point, we’ve got to ask ourselves like, what are we—is this a film that is important to us?” Robin Robins squirmed in her seat as if the relics of her ancestors within her genetic composition shamed her deep seeded socialization, and they commenced with the interview as they should have done in the first place.
    This depiction of a conscious break toward mental emancipation is powerful beyond expectation. I cried profusely in the theater sitting next to a sister, of whom I do not know, but who I shared secret ontological comfort while we apparently struggled through individual connections of events that emasculated the black man, and the dehumanizing rape of the black woman. We comforted our prideful tears through the identification of the connection between the story’s resistance and against that which currently oppresses us.
    I wanted to breakdown in that theater with a cry I have only experienced during the death of my best friend in 2001, but my consciousness held me together. It held me throughout the movie and walked me to the car, gently rubbed me on my back, explained to me why it would be best to sit for a few minutes before I drove, and then told me it was ok to cry like “you” need to. And I cried. I cried for all injustices suffered by the people who are the progenies of enslaved Africans. I sounded weird to myself. The unfamiliar sound of vocalized hurt, pain, and rejuvenation escaped the clutch of my control, and I was ok with that because it brought forth clarity.
    Thank you, Nate Parker for telling Nat Turner’s story, but even more so for telling your story while displaying a sturdy maintenance of your innocence through the all too common black body trepidation. Thank you for your holistic fight. This is why it was illegal for us to read. I needed this.

  6. KT says:

    “Turner’s own shift from Christlike grace to Jehovah-style wrath”

    Interesting. And very appropriate, when one considers the Book of Revelation and how Jesus also makes the same shift from New Testament peace to Old Testament judgement, arriving back on the scene dripping with blood to obliterate those who have turned to darkness and have no love for the truth.

    It seems Nate made a very timely and much needed movie. It’s good to know that it doesn’t sound like he skimped on showing the brutality, barbarism and savagery that Black people endured, nor the religious correlation of such a brutal ruling class backed up by the manner in which God responds and describes that heartless group of people.

    The Bible verse scene, going back and forth to show how slave owners misused scripture for their agenda, vs how scripture was actually supposed to be understood, was phenomenal.

    God bless you for such a beautiful, truthful and powerful film, Nate.

  7. Los Callabos says:

    Did they show the white women and children being decapitated/axed to death?

  8. nagual says:

    is it legal to use the title of another film for your film?

  9. tlsnyder42 says:

    Sounds like an Islamic leftist tale of revenge, terrorism and murder.

  10. America - StillTime2GrowUp says:

    As I have always said, when more black movie producers start to make all different types of movies about black history, that this will help to educate American society about the true reality of the black experience in America.

    This is a very powerful spiritual move for black movie producers to make, and to keep hammering down the real truth to America and the world.

    This is another tool to keep tearing down the strongholds of division in American Society.

    People with honest hearts and minds are not spiritually blind, and can see that throughout American history, that upstanding black people with the opportunity and being in a position to influence fairness and equality in America, have always considered not only themselves, but always practice fairness for everyone.

    Black People have always known what the true America is supposed to look like and be.
    But is most of America is still in denial and ignorant to some of the negative mindsets and lies that has been fed to American society about black people, since after slavery?

    Movies like this is a part of the healing process for America to continue to be educated, and also for a chance to understand that any people would react the same way, if they were living under the same dehumanizing conditions for a long period of time.

    Strongholds are hard to break, but time, patience, and by using the right tools that fit with the times and era, then we all will have a chance to truly be free.

    Free from what? Free from that demon of division amongst the American people.

    America let’s keep moving forward.

    Movies like this might bring the painful truth in some way, but on a spiritual note; A Nation must first tear down the strongholds in order to rebuilt a better Nation.

    In this case to rebuilt a better America to not make the same mistakes of the past.

    A lot of Black America history has been hidden or not mention. This type of Black American history is very important also, and should have been a part of American education in the public school system.

    The eyes of the many has to be opened for this to happen (It’s called growing pains).

    Peace to all Americans – Don’t forget that the rest of the world is watching and learning from America.
    Let’s be a good influence to the world, not a bad one.

    God let the diversity of America happen for a reason, and that is for the world to see that we all are just human beings made in His image. (It’s a shame that color has become a distraction – That’s childish).

    To just look at the outside is childish – But to look at the inside and try to understand is mature.
    American it’s time to be the real leader ordained by God and to grow up and to mature into an adult.

  11. business Ray says:

    lol lol RING ON IT

  12. Cordell Jones says:

    It’s cool for a guy to go on an international murdering spree in a fictional story to save his daughter but people have a problem with a true story of a Man standing to save his entire race from physical and mental oppression only because it paints a very real picture of the White mentality in America at that time and now (just more hush hush and denied). Looks and sounds like Butt hurt bias to me but hey, usually its a sign that it hit home and some only want to bash it because it was so real and close to home for some. White directors can make a slave film with the throwing a cement block in the ocean with slaves attached killing millions on they way to America and it be celebrated by all but let A black Man of integrity tell a very vivid, real and truthful story about Up rising and fighting for freedom and its a problem. Get over it! Nate Parker you are a blessing and Thak you from the bottom of my heart for exposing a truth that needs to be heard and shared.

    • Martin Pal says:

      Just how many white people today are you comparing to having a mentality that compares to things like this film portrays? What, exactly, do you want white people to think and feel about a film like this and do you want them to “do” something after seeing it? (If so, what?) And do you think only black people have been treated badly? Have you ever learned about the sweat shops that poor white children and women worked in at one time? Have you ever heard of the queer stockades that gay people were put in on South Pacific Islands during WWII that were lighted at night which made them targets for the Japanese. I could name other things, but the point is that there’s enough OFFENSE to be found in history for everyone if one wants to look for it. Nat Turner = religious man? Really?

      • keenangry says:

        The idea behind the film to have people understand that people who are pushed into a corner will fight for their God given liberty. And they have every obligation to do so against tyranny. No one would feel bad for nazis if their captives fought back. If so, why should they? The nazis were wrong. Save owners were wrong. Those like john Brown and nat turner did the same as those who fight terrorist do – save those who were in need.

  13. Nat Turner was a delusional religious zealot terrorist, I would liken him to the “noble” beheaders of ISIS. Why when there are so many real heroes in the antislavery movement to present in films they would make this cold blooded murderer out to be a hero. Of the 55 people slaughtered with axes and swords 12 were mothers and 31 were mere children sleeping in their beds.
    If we must continue to pick at the scab rather than letting it heal, how about a movie about John Brown and the numerous former slaves and abolitionists (including the second husband of Langston Hughes’ grandmother) who led a military style uprising to steal weapons from an armory to arm a slave rebellion; or one about the incredibly brave and selfless Harriet Tubman, rather than Turner, a raging lunatic who slaughtered women and children. This propaganda film reminds of something on the Third Reich by Leni Reifenstahl, nicely made, but distorted and dangerous.
    In the words of Nat Turner himself, dictated to his sympathetic attorney:
    “And on the 12th of May, 1828, I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first. …. And immediately on the sign appearing in the heavens, the seal was removed from my lips, and I communicated the great work laid out for me to do, to four in whom I had the greatest confidence, (Henry, Hark, Nelson, and Sam)–It was intended by us to have begun the work of death on the 4th July last–Many were the plans formed and rejected by us, and it affected my mind to such a degree, that I fell sick, and the time passed without our coming to any determination how to commence–Still forming new schemes and rejecting them, when the sign appeared again, which determined me not to wait longer.
    “Since the commencement of 1830, I had been living with Mr. Joseph Travis, who was to me a kind master, and placed the greatest confidence in me; in fact, I had no cause to complain of his treatment to me.”.(and yet when the time came to start the slaughter who did he murder first?, Mr Travis and his family).
    “Jack, I knew, was only a tool in the hands of Hark, it was quickly agreed we should commence at home (Mr. J. Travis’) on that night…. we determined to enter the house secretly, and murder them whilst sleeping. Hark got a ladder and set it against the chimney, on which I ascended, and hoisting a window, entered and came down stairs, unbarred the door, and removed the guns from their places. It was then observed that I must spill the first blood. On which, armed with a hatchet, and accompanied by Will, I entered my master’s chamber, it being dark, I could not give a death blow, the hatchet glanced from his head, he sprang from the bed and called his wife, it was his last word, Will laid him dead, with a blow of his axe, and Mrs. Travis shared the same fate, as she lay in bed. The murder of this family, five in number, was the work of a moment, not one of them awoke; there was a little infant sleeping in a cradle, that was forgotten, until we had left the house and gone some distance, when Henry and Will returned and killed it;”
    After his continued account of murdering several more families: “sometimes got in sight in time to see the work of death completed, viewed the mangled bodies as they lay, in silent satisfaction, and immediately started in quest of other victims–Having murdered Mrs. Waller and ten children, we started for Mr. William Williams’ –having killed him and two little boys that were there; while engaged in this, Mrs. Williams fled and got some distance
    from the house, but she was pursued, overtaken, and compelled to get up behind one of the company, who brought her back, and after showing her the mangled body of her lifeless husband, she was told to get down and lay by his side, where she was shot dead.”…..” On my way back, I called at Mrs. Thomas’s, Mrs. Spencer’s, and several other places, the white families having fled, we found no more victims to gratify our thirst for blood.”

    • sandrarivers says:

      isabellagarcia IS RACIST

    • Avenger07 says:

      I understand the need to tell stories, that’s what cinema is for, but in all honesty a movie as hard to watch as this, harder even than 12 years a slave isn’t going to bring in the crowds, it’ll end up being another oscar bait, period film about slavery, god save us all if this movie doesn’t win everything at next year’s oscars, not for being deserving or great, but for being what it is.

    • Cooper says:

      Brava. Well-said.

  14. nbtx says:

    Movie about a murderer, yeah I can’t wait to see it. Read your history books instead.

  15. Terry Boystrom says:

    Black people murdering whites. So little has changed.

    • Bryan says:

      Uh … Terry … you have an 87 % White-On-White murder rate . What are you complaining about ?

    • jack4713 says:

      A movie about a slave rebellion.

      Four million men women and children in bondage in 1830, and the death of 60 white slaveowners offends you?

      Have you had too much of movies about slavery?

      Roots, Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave, Amistad, Glory.

      Five in forty years and “Gone with the Wind” and “Birth of a Nation” before that? I feel you.

      (Amistad and Glory starred Matthews McConaughey and Broderick, so not so much).

      • Kendall Segars says:

        Sad and as gruesome as the murder of the white women and children sound….please consider that Nat Turner watched the sweetest white girls and children grow to be vicious and brutal slavers……Turner’s brutality MUST be viewed in that NO ONE WAS INNOCENT THAT COULD INHERIT SLAVES….and the failure of other insurrections was when the next generation was spared…..

      • Levi says:

        The death of mostly white women and children offends me. Nat Turner smashed in the head of a sixteen year old girl. If you aren’t offended by that, you aren’t human.

  16. Bill B. says:

    Next year’s best picture winner at the Oscars.

  17. Sara Rose says:

    Sounds like historical blaxploitation. Where’s Fred Williamson when you need him?

  18. Tony says:

    So…the only way Black people in Hollywood get recognition is by doing a slave film?
    Nothing much has changed.

  19. Moshe says:

    This period piece has many white folk getting slaughtered by a minority of black males. Same thing going on today nationwide.

  20. Nate says:

    Next year, if BoaN receives multiple AA nominations, no matter how well deserved on their merit, there will be those who say the deck was stacked; just as this year the lack of nominations for deserving people of color led to all Academy members being labelled racists undeservedly.

    Beware unintended consequences, Spike, Will and Jada.

    • ceares says:

      considering a stacked deck is how many movies and actors get their nominations, so what? It’s bull when people talk about choosing solely on the performance or on merit, when it’s not even a secret that actors get noms and win sometimes because it’s their ‘due’ and sometimes because the studio threw a bunch of money behind the campaign and manipulated noms, for instance, putting a lead role in the supporting category. There are movies that never even get watched, because they are outside the comfort zone of the members and noms that come because of the prestige of the actor/director/performer and people that will never win because they’re disliked, not because they don’t deserve it. All this gets talked about every awards season and yet the idea of allowing considerations other than solely a deserving performance when it comes to inclusion, is some how talked about as a violation of a sanctity that the Academy Awards doesn’t even possess.

      • Nate says:

        I’m in total agreement but I stand by my previous comment; although I will narrow it by saying those who perceive the AAs as being given totally on merit will now say they are not.

        All that being said, most people outside of the industry watch to make snide comments about the clothes.

  21. steve barr says:

    At least 10 nominations including four for Nate Parker . The problem isn’t the Academy it’s the movies .

  22. Sexracist says:

    Nothing spells awards glory like religiously justified violence. If this is successful maybe the heroic Osama bin Laden biopic will finally get pulled out of turnaround.

    • bridgettegabrielle says:

      Are you actually comparing a slave leading a rebellion to Bin Laden? I am not a huge fan of slave moves but stories about people overcoming oppressive regimes and fighting for their freedom have always been celebrated in Hollywood (ie. Braveheart). Why would this be any different?

      • because according to these racists black people have no right to revel against slavery and white people do have the right

      • Aaron1968 says:

        Well, “Braveheart” was really pretty weak as a film. Sure, it’s got some fun moments, but the majority of it is so utterly obvious that it undermines anything positive that was being attempted. I guess I have given up on morally obvious, black and white (no pun intended) presentations. I’ll take gray any day.

  23. Mike says:

    The Confessions of Nat Turner was written by William STYRON. Hire a proofreader for God’s sake.

  24. John Miller says:

    It sounds like a movie, if it had been released last year, could have gotten the nominations and quelled the controversy we are now hearing.

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