The Academy Awards & controversy surrounding ‘The Help’

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    Viola Davis in a scene from "The Help." (AP Photo)

    Hour 2

    It wouldn’t be Oscar season without a little controversy and this year it comes courtesy of “The Help.” Set in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963, the film centers on a young white Southerner who convinces a group of African-American maids to tell their experiences working in white households. The movie is up for four awards including Best Picture, Best Actress for Viola Davis and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain. While the performances have been widely praised as some of the best acting on the big screen all year, the film has been criticized for numerous historical inaccuracies and reinforcing old stereotypes surrounding African Americans and the Jim Crow South. Today we’ll talk about “The Help” and take a look at this year’s Oscar race with Tanya Hamilton, writer and director of the critically acclaimed film “Night Catches Us,” John L. Jackson Jr., a filmmaker and professor of Communication and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania; and Mark Rosenthal, a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, screenwriter of Mona Lisa Smile, Superman IV and Star Trek VI, and a professor of Film, Media Arts at Temple University.

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    [audio: 022312_110630.mp3]

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