Our black history month coverage continues with Margaret on Spike Lee's 1997 nominee for Best Documentary Feature...
Spike Lee is famously an Oscar loser. With every passing year--25 of them now behind us--it makes less and less sense that Do the Right Thing lost its nomination for Best Original Screenplay, let alone that it failed to earn Oscar nominations in the Best Picture or Best Director categories. When one thinks of Spike Lee, what comes to mind is a distinct stylization, and a reputation for incendiary cultural commentary. His inflammatory style has often been implicated as the cause of his cool reception from the film establishment.
His less remembered brush with Oscar was a nomination for Best Documentary in 1997 for his film 4 Little Girls, and that loss is more mysterious. No less artfully crafted or emotionally gut-punching than the best of his filmography, the documentary is also more formally and stylistically straightforward: other than the title card up front identifying it as "A Spike Lee Joint" it's absent many of the colorful hallmarks of the Lee's work.
The historical events examined by 4 Little Girls should be familiar to anyone who caught the recent Best Picture contender Selma. [Read more...]