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From 12 Years a Slave to Django Unchained, Hollywood’s take on racism

LiveMint logoLiveMint 20-02-2017 Lata Jha

New Delhi: Two of the Oscar-nominated films released in India last Friday, Hidden Figures and Moonlight, portray black lives and their challenges. In a country like the United States, which is constantly dealing with the challenge to accord sensitivity to coloured communities, here are 10 other Hollywood films dealing with racial issues.

1.Selma (2014): The British-American historical drama directed by Ava DuVernay was based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis. Featuring David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Carmen Ejogo and Common, it made $66 million worldwide.

2.12 Years A Slave (2013): The Steve Mc Queen directed film was based on slave narrative memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C., in 1841 and sold into slavery. The Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender- starrer won three Academy Awards and made $187 million at the box office.

3. The Butler (2013): The historical drama was the story of an African-American who witnesses significant political and social events of the 20th century during his 34-year tenure serving as a White House butler. Directed by Lee Daniels and starring Forest Whitaker in the lead role, it earned $176 million in box-office collections.

4. 42 (2013): The biographical sports film was directed by Brian Helgeland and focused on the racial integration of American professional baseball player Jackie Robinson. Chadwick Boseman played the lead in the film that made $95 million in domestic box- office collections.

5. Django Unchained (2012): Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist film revolved around a freed slave who sets out to rescue his wife from a Mississippi plantation owner. The Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer earned $425 million in worldwide box office-collections.

6. The Help (2011): The period drama told the story of a young white aspiring journalist who decides to write a book from the point of view of her two maids, exposing the racism they face as they work for white families. The Tate Taylor directed film made $216 million at the box office.

7. Remember the Titans (2000): The sports drama directed by Boaz Yakin was based on the true story of African-American coach Herman Boone and racial conflicts in a high-school football team in Virginia. The Denzel Washington-starrer earned $136 million in box office collections.

8. A Time to Kill (1996): The crime drama adaptation of John Grisham’s 1989 novel of the same name, revolved around the rape of an African-American girl by two supremacists in Mississippi. Directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey and Kevin Spacey, it earned $152 million at the box office.

9. Do the Right Thing (1989): The Spike Lee directed comedy drama centred on the racial tension in a Brooklyn neighbourhood in New York. Starring Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito and Bill Nunn in the lead roles, the critically acclaimed film made $37 million at the box office.

10. Driving Miss Daisy (1989): The comedy-drama directed by Bruce Beresford focused on racism against blacks and anti-Semitism in Atlanta, Georgia. Featuring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy in lead roles, it netted $145 million in worldwide box- office collections.

All figures have been sourced from movie website Box Office Mojo

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