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4B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, March 18, 1999
Work of minorities frequently ignored by Academy
Daily - Weekend, etc.
Top 10 Albums
(The nation's top-selling albums
for the week)
By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Film Editor
Every year the Academy of Motion
Pictures, Arts and Sciences fails to nomi-
nate certain actors or films that critics and
audiences alike feel warrant recognition.
But an even more disturbing trend over,
the past few years, has been the trend of
the Academy overlooking minorities.
In 1995 Jesse Jackson created the
Rainbow Coalition in response to the
omission of minorities in general, but
specifically for snubs of the film "Devil in
a Blue Dress" and its director and stars,
Carl Franklin, Denzel Washington and
Don Cheadle and "Sense and Sensibility"
director Ang Lee.
Though the Academy seemingly
improved in 1996 - which included
more nominations for minorities and a
Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Cuba
Gooding Jr. - 1997 had only one nomi-
nation for a minority filmmaker (Spike
Lee for his documentary "4 Little Girls").
And in 1998, no people of color have
received nominations in any major cate-
gories, despite much well-received work
and many visible performances.
The most controversial slight is of
Shekhar Kapur, the director of the Best
Picture-nominated "Elizabeth." Of the
directors to be left off the list, Kapur
seemed one of the least likely to be
excluded due to the intensely visual
nature of "Elizabeth"
Interestingly enough, Roberto Benigni
received a Best Director nomination, even
though "Life Is Beautiful" is visually flat
and considered more a writers' and
actors' film. Additionally, "Elizabeth"'s.
cinematography was nominated for an
Oscar, something that would seemingly
go hand-in-hand with a Best Director
While Spike Lee's "He Got Game"
opened to mixed reviews, Denzel
Washington won universal praise for what
was his best performance in years. Not
surprisingly, however, Washington failed
to garner a nomination. Other black actors
Courtesy of Miramax
Irene Bedard and Adam Beach star in Smoke Signals, the first film directed, produced
by and starring Native Americans. The acclaimed movie gamed no nominations.
who were shut out this year's Oscars
despite well-received performances
include Don Cheadle ("Bulworth" and
"Out of Sight"), Ving Rhames ("Out of
Sight"), Queen Latifah ("Living Out
Loud"), Halle Berry ("Bulworth") and
Angela Bassett ("How Stella Got Her
Worse, though, was the blanket-snub of
"Beloved," excepting a few minor awards.
The film not only opened to raves, but
stars Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover,
Thandie Newton and Kimberly Elise
were all considered locks for Oscar nom-
inations a few months ago.
The Academy hasn't stopped at snub-
bing Indians and African Americans, but
Latinos and Native Americans also felt
the brunt of this collective slight. Even
though "Out of Sight" received many crit-
ical awards, its female star has heard bare-
ly a word of praise. Despite a star-making
performance from Jennifer Lopez -
which has set her up to become the high-
est paid Latina in the history of
Hollywood - she has yet to receive any
awards or nominations.
Perhaps this has something to do with
the fact that no Latino/a has won an Oscar
since Rita Morena's supporting role in
"West Side Story" in 1961. While the
Academy might counter that one of this
year's Best Actress nominees, Fernanda
Montenegro ("Central Station"), is
Brazilian, her selection fits more into the
category of foreign actors getting nomi-
nated - like Benigni.
Beyond that, "Smoke Signals," the first
film ever written, produced, directed by
and starring Native Americans failed to
garner any nominations, despite cleaning
up at the Sundance Film Festival.
Clearly, in any given year some deserv-
ing movies will suffer omissions. But it's
the continued exclusion of filmmakers
and actors of color that is disturbing.
In a year when minorities made many
films worthy of nominations - "He Got
Game""Beloved," "Down on the Delta,"
"Slam,' "Men With Guns" and "Smoke
Signals" - it's fascinating that Whoopi
Goldberg is hosting the event. While this
is Goldberg's second time out - this isn't
a new thing for her - one wonders if her
presence legitimizes the omission of
minorities. The Academy voters are most-
ly older white males, and by them voting
almost exclusively for whites, what is
It's surprising that her hosting the event
hasn't drawn more attention or criticism
from those who attack the Academy for
their lack of integration. Instead, her pres-
ence seems a given, rather than an oxy-
moron, at this year's ceremony.
So, when this year's Oscars begin and
awards are announced, expect Goldberg
to be the lone trace of color on the stage.
with the University?
Need help making
sense of your
U of M experience?
courtesy of Chrysler
When It comes to American sedans, the 300M is the top dog. Purists chastise its nomenclature, but younger buyers love it.
ITE CHRYSLER 300M:
AMERICKAS BEST SEDAN
The Chrysler 300M is a driver's car,
perfect for all destinations big and
American, and not a bad choice for those
in the $30,000 market.
But it spreads a little thin when you get
to the edges of the proverbial baguette
that is the sport sedan market; one might
say the 300M tries to be too many things
to too many people.
Car companies have a team of sooth-
sayers on their side who figure out what
car you and I will want to buy even before
we hop on over to the local dealership.
Chrysler's LHS and 300M are good
examples of this game, as the two models
share many parts, but in the end have two
different characteristics. They're sort of
like twins separated at birth: One is fresh
from The Actor's Studio and will hit
months, the other
went the way of Van
and is destined to
play screen roles.
next to the likes of
Jasmine St. Claire
and Ron Jeremy.
The main com-
ponent that the two
cars share is the 3.5
liter V-6 that trum- REILLY
pets 253 horsepow- BRENNAN
er - that's even
more than the glori-
ous 3.2 liter in-line six from BMW's M3.
However, from that foundation, the 300M
plays to a younger audience than it's LHS
brethren. It's more sporty and urgent than
the longer LHS, which is perfect for the
older gent on his way to the opera. I have
no use for operas at this point in my life,
so the 300M is better for me.
A lot of Chrysler-philes are making a
big stink about the 300M's "M."
The Chrysler of old had a 300-letter
series around the 1950's that featured
huge, honking V-8s that were shoehorned
into rear-wheel drive sedans.
Today's 300M is front-wheel drive and
has a V-6, hardly keeping in line with tra-
The doubters claim that this new breed
is stealing too much history for sales' sake
and not paying enough homage to older
Chryslers. Although those older Chryslers
were never part of my automotive life, I
can understand why the 300M might be
considered a sellout. Just imagine how
you'd feel if your beloved Camaro Z28
reappears in thirty years with a four cylin-
der and front-wheel drive. The automotive
gods would turn over in their graves.
If you can look past the nomenclature,
the 300M is probably the best sedan
America has to offer. The styling might
be a little heavy-handed on the bulbous,
cab-forward theme in the front, but comes
together nicely with a big, chunky rear
end. Sir Mix-A-Lot would like the 300M.
My mother doesn't listen to Sir Mix-A-
Lot, but she likes the 300M too, at least
from the back. She's famous for making
wild statements regarding things she
knows little about (a trait perfect for
mothering an automotive journalist), and
once told me that she wanted to go out
and buy "that Chrysler I saw today with
the 300 on the back." When said mother
saw the front end of said car, her reaction
was very disapproving, and instead she
opted for a Mercedes C230K.
Dear old Mom would have liked the
interior if she ever gave it any time. The
Chrysler has some really nice analog
gauges that glow green during the
evening. In fact, my favorite interior touch
might be the analog clock that centers the
dash, which takes a while to get used to,
but is a lot better than a clunky digital
square above the radio.
The seats are big and puffy and cov-
ered in leather, but are probably a step
down from those appearing in the new
Grand Cherokee, which are the most
comfortable seats that I've found in any
American transport. It's a shame that the
quality of these materials isn't more of a
concern though - the shift gate's plastic
louvres are perfect for a Neon but unac-
ceptable for a car asking $30,000. The
buttons on the radio aren't the best either,
and I could move the entire center console
side-to-side with a thrust of my arm.
The 300M's Autostick, a manual setting
for the automatic by use of the shifter, is a
feature that I never really appreciate to the
fullest. Standard with every 300M, I usual-
ly end up forgetting about it until I acciden-
tally floor through first gear's redline. Also,
1999 Chiysler 300M
J Base Price: $28,700
J Price as Tested: $30,970
J Engine: 24.valve DOHC V.6
J Power: 253 hp
/ Performance: 0-60 in 8.5 sec
/ Torque: 255 ft-lb
/ EPA City driving: 18 mi/gal
the shifter is a bit low when the average
hand is resting on the armrest, making shifts
hard on the forearm. Don't plan on using
the Autostick with a drink in that cupholder
in front ofthe armrest either, or plan on hav-
ing Dr. Pepper all over your passenger.
Where the 300M sings is on long trips
on the highway, as the V-6's passing
power from 50-70 mph is very quick for
merging and passing. I spanked Mustangs
There's little road noise, and it's a fair-
ly pleasurable ride on its passengers for
extended travel. Gas mileage is pretty
good as well at 27 mi/gal on the highway.
Around town is where the argument for
a smaller, German sedan might seem log-
ical. The 300M is good off the line, but
look out if you have to park it. The cab-
forward thinking is out of control in this
car, and as a result the front end is but a
memory to even the tallest driver. I came
hairs away from parking posts and other
parked cars when wheeling out of my
spot in a lot last week.
For the young American professional
with a hankering for highway trips and
need for more interior volume than the
family hatchback, the 300M is not only
logical, but economical. You do get a lot
of car for under $30,000. But in a class
that includes the Lexus ES300, Acura
3.2TL, Mercedes C230K, BMW 323i
and Audi A4 2.8 Quattro, the 300M is
good for an American, but lacking when
put up against its foreign competition. A
300N with a huge V-8 would do the trick,
maybe with rear-wheel drive too.
- When not filming in Van Nuys, Reilly
Brennan can be reached over e-mail at
1. TLC, "Fan Mail"
2. Lauryn Hill, "The
Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"
3. Eminem, "The Slim Shady
4. Britney Spears, "... Baby 0
5. Shania Twain, "Come on
6. George Strait, "Always Nev
7. Cher, "Believe"
8. Dixie Chicks, "Wide Open
9. The Offspring, "Americana"
10. The Roots, "Things Fall
Source: Billboard ft
Top 10 Books
(The week's best-selling hard-cover fictic
1. "The Testament," John Grish
2. "Single and Single," John Le
3. "River's End," Nora Roberts
4. "Tara Road," Maeve Binchy
5. "Southern Cross," Patricia C
6. "Be Cool," Elmore Leonard
7. "A Sudden Change of Heart,
8. "Vector," Dr. Robin Cook
9. "Apollyon," Tim Lattaye and
10. "Ashes to Ashes," Tami Ho
TV: The i
What happened ol
"Dawson's Creek": Joey makes
Fair. Unfortunately, the painter
that be Jack-out-ofthe-closet).
Grams a makeover. It seems a
Halloween was five months ag
"90210": Gina and her mothe
$60,000 from Donna's mothe
extort himself a date with a
nalistic ethics (barely). Kelly
nasty after Matt's schitso w
in a jet ski accident, but, ala
yet again, the catlike McKa
"Law and Order": (R) A courtro
"Friends": (R) Chandler and
discover they can't stand hir
"ER": (R) Lucy throws a wild
Barcalounger. Carter contem
tie intern, but decides to wait
"The Simpsons": (R) "There
"X Files": (R) Mulder swaps I
ferent movies (you know, tha
waterbed. Scully is left to fe
"real" Mulder contends with
"Ally McBea": Pre-empted. Calisi
wastes away into ashes and dust
at the SAG Awards.
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer": Fa
soul, but Buffy and gang thwar
seat episode. Cordy continues
finds resisting her wiles rather
"Felicity": Preempted. The c
to be lame.