Black History Month Film Series

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Too Good to Pass Over: A Celebration of Black Oscar Winners

The Academy Awards have earned a reputation for withholding Oscar wins from black actors and productions. But this cinema selection presented by FOX 4 News film critic Shawn Edwards offers films for black audiences that Oscar could not deny.

All films are screened in the Stanley H. Durwood Film Vault at 1:30 p.m. at Central Library. Admission is free.

SATURDAYS at 1:30 p.m.

February 4 Lilies of the Field (1963 : Not Rated)
February 11 Glory (1989 : Rated R)
February 18 Precious (2009 : Rated R)
February 25 ‘Round Midnight (1986 : Rated R)

“Lillies of the Field”

On February 4 the series will feature “Lillies in the Field” starring Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier. Poitier became the first black to win an Oscar for Actor in a lead role in 1963 for his powerful performance as Homer Smith in this moving and socially insightful film about an unemployed construction worker who accidentally befriends a group of nuns who believe that he has been sent by God to build a much needed church for them in the desert.


On February 11 the series will feature “Glory” the story based on the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first formal unit of the US Army to be made up entirely of African-American men, as told from the point of view of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, its commanding officer during the Civil War. The stellar cast includes Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher and Matthew Broderick. But the stand out was two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington who won his first Oscar in 1986 for his stirring performance as the defiant but run away slave Trip. Washington won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.


On February 18 the series will feature the 2009 film “Precious” in which two blacks won two of the film’s three Oscars for this story about an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. Mo’ Nique won for Best Supporting Actress for her haunting performance as the teen’s cruel and sadistic mother and Geoffery Fletcher won for Best Adapted Screenplay for his script based on the novel “Push.”

“Round Midnight”

On February 25 the series concludes with “‘Round Midnight” which stars jazz artist Dexter Gordon. It’s the story about a African American tenor saxophone player living in Paris in the 1950s who is befriended by an unsuccessful French graphic artist who idolizes the musician and who tries desperately to help him to escape alcohol abuse. Grammy award-winning composer and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock won an Oscar for the incredibly nuanced and jazzy score for the 1986 movie.

“Lillies in the Field” Trailer

“Glory” Trailer

“Precious” Trailer

“‘Round Midnight” Trailer

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