In one of the most highly contested votes in Black Reel Awards history, the story of a group of blues musicians in 1950′s Chicago edged out a cast of real-life singers to win Best Picture in the 2008 Black Reel Awards.
After snagging nine nominations, “Cadillac Records” took home three awards including Best Picture. In addition to winning the top prize, Jeffrey Wright won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Blues pioneer Muddy Waters and the talented cast won for Best Ensemble.
Directed by Darnell Martin, “Cadillac Records” was the brilliant re-telling of the rise of Blues label Chess Records and it’s talented roster of future stars including Waters, Little Walter, Etta James, Chuck Berry and Howlin’ Wolf. Despite a tepid opening weekend, the film probably will do far better business on DVD than in the theater.
Also winning three awards apiece were “The Secret Life of Bees” and indie darling, “Slumdog Millionaire.” The coming-of-age tale of a young girl influenced by three cultured, strong women won two awards for writer/director Gina Prince Bythewood (Best Director and Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted). Queen Latifah took home Best Actress as the matriarch of the film’s Boatwright clan.
“Slumdog Millionaire” continued it’s impressive award season run winning Best Actor and Best Breakthrough Performance for Dev Patel and Best Soundtrack for it’s pulsating sounds.
The momentum continues for Viola Davis who has been generated plenty of buzz for her powerful performance opposite Meryl Streep in the morality tale, “Doubt.” Nominated for a Golden Globe, Davis is poised to receive an Oscar nod when they are announced late next month
While the year may change, the results remain the same for the most nominated person in Black Reel Awards history. Fifteen time nominee, Spike Lee and his film, “Miracle at St. Anna” were shutout. Lee, whose only win was for “When the Levees Broke,” remains the epitome of always a bridesmaid, rarely a bride!