Are we talking an Oscar nomination for Jamie Foxx’s role in “Django Unchained” which opened in theaters on Christmas Day? The film earned about $60 million over the holiday weekend making it likely to replace “Inglourious Basterds,” which earned $120.5 million, as Quentin Tarantino’s highest grossing movie ever, reported EW.com.
The film stars Foxx, along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins and Jonah Hill. Foxx plays the starring role of Django, a freed slave turned bounty hunter seeking to free his wife, Broomhilda, portrayed by Washington. Django lost Broomhilda at a slave trade years ago, and she is being held by an evil and vicious plantation owner, Calvin Candie, played by DiCaprio.
The violence in the movie is classic Tarantino, but the story creates a mixture of feelings for the viewer who may be forced to think first before reacting to many of the scenes.
It is not often that the story of slavery is told from the perspective of the enslaved person. In “Django Unchained,” Tarantino and Foxx offer that perspective, and carefully depict how those who were held captive sometimes succeeded in avenging the cruel and evil treatment of their slave masters.
Much has been written about the actors considered for the role of Django before it was offered to Foxx, and about how Tarantino challenged Foxx to assume the very difficult and emotional role of a slave.
There is a lot of Oscar buzz for this film and rightfully so, but we believe that while Tarantino clearly deserves a nomination for boldly telling this story to the American public, that Foxx deserves his due, as well. He, along with Washington and Jackson, performed roles that were clearly Hollywood, but they were also very real. Foxx successfully conveyed the deep-seated pain and anger that thousands of enslaved people kept bottled up just to stay alive. And some would argue that the children of the enslaved and their descendants are still impacted by America’s cruelest institution, which only ended following a divisive and violent war.
The American slavery story needs to be told, over and over, so that every American is as familiar with its horrific details as they are with the Holocaust. We would also argue that the savage killing and displacement of the Native Americans is also a story that needs more vetting.
We believe Foxx should be nominated and awarded a top honor for the role he played in “Django Unchained.” He deserves it, but most importantly, the story deserves to be celebrated and not ignored.