If Beale Street Could Talk: Iffy Oscar Prospects–How Barry Jenkins Movie Got Lost…..

I am still baffled by the mute response to “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins’s follow up to Moonlight, which won (in big Academy faux pas) the 2016 Best Picture Oscar.

Too Subtle and Understated? Bad Luck? Late Release? Too Many Black-Themed Films?

What went wrong?

Too Subtle and Understated? Bad Luck? Late Release? Too Many Black-Themed Films?

First the good news: Regina King, who’s terrific as the mother, is  a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actress nomination. her omission on January 21, when the nominations are announced, will send shock waves in the industry.

She is frontrunner among an impressive line of supporting actresses.

If Beale Street Could Talk has never become a must-see film, or a buzzy movie to talk about.

I was hoping that its honorable literary source, James Baldwin (short) novel, would elevate the stature of the film, especially now that there have been several intriguing documentaries about Baldwin, including


Period Piece:

Regina King’s critically acclaimed performance (she popped on the Golden Globes just in time) to rich costume and production design to lush photography that easily ranks among the best of the year (the ASC dropped the ball here) to a score that settles in your bones.


Aside from Regina King, the rest of the ensemble is very strong; there is not a single performance in the film which is NOT good.

Take the central romantic couple,

Brian Tyree Henry might have given a too short performance (around 9 minutes) to qualify for serious considerations for Best Supporting Actor?

“We live in a society, as black men, where we’re told we can’t have feelings, we can’t cry or be angry or be passionate about a lot of things,” Henry has said in interviews. “But the first thing you see from my character is joy.”

Indeed, Henry plays the kind of black role we seldom see in black-themed or white-themed pictures.