“Straight Outta Compton” Dominated 2015 in Many Ways. So Why the Golden Globes Snub?
Just a few days after the Recording Academy left many Heads scratching their, well…heads, over Grammy nominations, the Hollywood Foreign Press has got many people asking “what were they thinking?” The organization behind the Golden Globes announced its list of nominees for the best in film and television of 2015, and one film is conspicuously missing. Straight Outta Compton became, among other things, the highest-grossing film from an African-American director ever, shattering box-office records and setting a new bar for future music-based biopics. Its namesake album (N.W.A.’s 1988 debut album) has been certified triple-platinum – an accomplishment only recently achieved – and the acting by the likes of Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., was pretty much universally acclaimed. Complaints of authenticity at the hands of critics aside, the film was undoubtedly a monstrous success, not just in numbers but also culturally. It is, without a doubt, one of the most signifcant Hip-Hop films to infiltrate mainstream cinematic history, and chances are the immutable praise for the film led many people who otherwise would not have been interested in a film about a Hip-Hop group from several decades ago to check it out. And yet, it has not received a single Golden Globe nomination.
For many, this may read as yet anther example of cultural institutions refusing to accept the cultural value of Hip-Hop, a fight that has been ongoing since the culture was first written off as a “fad” in its infancy. While there will be those who will argue the short-sighted decision involves race, one would be remiss not to mention all of the nominees of color who include Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, and others. So what gives? Wiz Khalifa was nominated for Best Original Song (he makes an appearance on the soundtrack for the Furious 7), so this can’t be a blanketed anti-Hip-Hop decision. The answer is not clear, but theories abound. Could it be the politics behind the scenes involving ego and other human flaws that are affecting the film’s acknowledgement? Is there a fear of backlash over the film’s controversial content, particularly what some viewed as the glorification of misogyny and violence? Or is the answer something clearer, perhaps something along the lines of the voting committee simply being out of touch?
Certainly, a long list of nominations would not make the film any more valuable to its fans; clearly, the film will continue to be loved and appreciated. And, there will be those who will make the argument that he approval of some Hollywood organization is not something Hip-Hop requires to feel pride. However, there is no doubt that recognition from such a highly esteemed platform like the Golden Globes would significantly raise the visibility of Hip-Hop in an otherwise (mostly) hostile environment.
Now that the film has been ignored by the Golden Globes, will the Oscars show love?