Till director Chinonye Chukwu shares powerful message following Oscars snub

Chukwu wrote that for her, joy was a form of ‘resistance’ in the face of discrimination

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 25 January 2023 10:18 GMT
Till trailer

Till director Chinonye Chukwu has shared a powerful message about the treatment of Black women in Hollywood following the 2023 Oscar nominations.

On Tuesday (24 January), the nominations were announced for the 95th Academy Awards. You can read the full list of nominees here.

Some of the biggest snubs and surprises came in the Best Actress category, after Till star Danielle Deadwyler and The Woman King’s Viola Davis failed to earn nominations, despite being deemed frontrunners in the category.

The acclaimed biopic Till, in which Deadwyler plays Mamie Till-Bradley, the mother of murdered 14-year-old Emmett Till, did not receive any nominations.

Following the announcement, director Chukwu shared a photo to Instagram in which she is seen crouching next to a woman in a wheelchair, smiling up at her.

“We live in a world and work in industries that are so aggressively committed to upholding whiteness and perpetuating an unabashed misogyny towards Black women,” she wrote.

“And yet. I am forever in gratitude for the greatest lesson of my life – regardless of any challenges or obstacles, I will always have the power to cultivate my own joy, and it is this joy that will continue to be one of my greatest forms of resistance.”

“Amen amen,” commented Jurnee Smollett, while British actor Susan Wokoma wrote: “KEEP ON KEEP ON.”

“You should been nominated for both Till and [2019 drama] Clemency,” one commenter wrote. “I have only paid attention to award season the last few years because of your movies. All of us in this thread and who know how amazing you and your work are will one day scream our lungs out when your name and your work finally gets the recognition it deserves.”

The Best Actress category proved to be one of the most controversial categories among the Oscar nominations, due to the inclusion of Ana de Armas for the divisive Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde and Andrea Riseborough for the little-seen To Leslie.

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‘Till' director Chinonye Chukwu (left) and star Danielle Deadwyler in October

Few had heard of Riseborough’s film, which made just £22,000 in the global box office, until celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston began urging fans (and award voters) to watch it in January.

When her nomination was announced, many critics said that Riseborough deserved a nomination, but that it felt like Black actors Deadwyler and Davis had been unfairly pushed out.

“You can think Andrea Riseborough is an *insane* talent, that awards campaigns are inherently unfair anyway, and also ask if those in the actors branch would similarly cob their weight behind a Black woman. Esp in a year with no noms for Black women in Lead Actress,” tweeted former Empire editor Terri White.

The other nominees for Best Actress are Cate Blanchett for Tár, Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at Once and Michelle Williams for The Fabelmans.

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