Our celebration of Black History Month is, naturally, also an Oscar History Celebration. Today Nathaniel looks at Morgan Freeman's original claim to fame.
When you think of Morgan Freeman what's the first thing that comes up? Given his revered stature in contemporary cinema the answer is undoubtedly pulled from the following character types: wise mentor, savvy professional, trusted friend, quiet confidante, brilliant academic, noble leader. Freeman brings such natural authority and wise but warm old men sass onscreen that playing God in the comedy Bruce Almighty wasn't even a stretch but a light bulb "of course it's Freeman!" moment. So it's a little startling to remember or discover that his first of five Oscar nominations -- he's the most celebrated black actor in Oscar history outside of Denzel Washington -- and indeed his breakthrough in cinema does not fit the Morgan Freeman mold in virtually any way.
This ho said you wanted to meet me so here I am.
No, Morgan Freeman's original claim to big screen fame was as a vicious pimp named "Fast Black" in a largely forgotten journalist-plays-with-fire drama called Street Smart (1987). [More...]