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"Can a white director make a great black movie?" It's the kind of question that bothers me -- you can extend it to asking whether a male director can make a great film about women, or whether a straight director can make a great film about homosexuality. (This year, Abdellatif Kechiche answered both those questions in the affirmative.) Great storytelling requires more empathy than first-hand experience. Still, John Singleton (the first black filmmaker ever nominated for a Best Director Oscar) looks at such recent films as "Fruitvale Station," "The Butler" and "12 Years a Slave" -- all by black directors, though not all by African-Americans -- argues that "there is a noticeable difference between pictures that have significant contributions from African-Americans behind the scenes and those that don't." He adds "what Hollywood execs need to realize is that black-themed stories appeal to the mainstream because they are uniquely American" -- which, well, let's just say I can't see everyone agreeing on that point. [Hollywood Reporter]
Should we be asking more questions about the 3D-and-IMAX makeover being given to "The Wizard of Oz" than we currently are? [Slant]
Joe Eszterhas will be the headline speaker at this year's London Screenwriters' Festival, where guests also include Jim Sheridan and David Hare. [London Screenwriters' Festival]
Everything: Academy Awards
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