53 years ago on December 12, 1967, Columbia Pictures released Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which tells the story of a family’s reaction to a proposed marriage between a black man and a white woman. It starred Academy Award winners Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn and was produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, who showed deftness in his use of comedy to defuse the explosive potential of his subject.
When the film was made, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been newly enacted and America was only beginning to reckon with the implications of becoming a color-blind society. 50 years later, Jordan Peele released his highly acclaimed and successful debut film Get Out, a modern retelling of a similar story from a much darker perspective.
While the film industry may still have a long ways to go, significant progress has been made in seeking out more diverse contributors to tell stories from a wider range of perspectives. This week, the New York Film Critics announced the winners of their 2020 NYFCC Awards which include Best Actor Delroy Lindo and Best Supporting Actor Chadwick Bozeman from Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods.
“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.