By Florence Anthony
It’s Oscar time, and for 2010, March 7 will be the most exciting night for Black Hollywood in the history of the Oscars. For the first time, ever, a Black film, Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire, has been nominated for a record six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. To celebrate this momentous event, the parties are on and popping.
First up, is my favorite Oscar viewing party, which I have attended for the past 14 years. On Oscar Sunday, the Beverly Hills Hotel Crystal Ballroom will once again provide the venue for the arrival of approximately 150-200 stars who will attend the hottest celebrity Awards party in town with even bigger names than last year – the 20th Annual Night of 100 Stars Black Tie Dinner Viewing Gala. My favorite guy in the world, Norby Walters, veteran music agent, reprises his role as Producer and Dinner Chairman. The formal sit-down dinner viewing party has always included past Oscar winners and nominees who will return to pay tribute to this year’s favorite award nominees. Stars and their guests will be dressed to the nines in Formal fashions represented by the nation’s finest design houses. This is the place to be on Oscar night.
But, the fun is already underway. The NAACP Image Awards are Friday, February 26, in Los Angeles. After conducting a citywide search for exceptional women who live in the Southern California community, Ford Motor Company is honoring 20 women as Southern California Freedom’s Sisters. The recognition luncheon will be held in conjunction with the NAACP Image Awards Thursday, February 25, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and will be hosted by Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson and will feature a keynote by former NAACP Chairwoman, Myrlie Evers-Williams, who is one of the living legends in the National Freedom’s Sisters exhibit. The honorees include Natalie Cole, Loretta Devine, Denise Pines, Holly Robinson Peete, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Della Reese.
Since we are on the subject of hot awards luncheons, completing an already exciting list of honorees including Queen Latifah, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, Essence is excited that as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration, Academy Award nominee Cicely Tyson, will be the recipient of the Legend Award at the third annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The event will take place during Oscar Week on Thursday, March 4, in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Cicely Tyson will join past Essence Black Women in Hollywood Legend Award honorees Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll as pioneers who have paved the way and broken barriers for African-American actresses in Hollywood.
All of Atlanta is still talking about the hilarious and inspirational words of wisdom “Law and Order” star Anthony Anderson shared at the Seagram’s Gin Pursuit of Excellence graduation. In the crowd were some of Atlanta’s best and brightest including top radio personality Ryan Cameron and hunky Fox Atlanta anchorman Mark Hayes. The festive occasion was held to honor the 10 outstanding young men who successfully completed the program, which is designed to address rising unemployment among Black males in some of the hardest hit cities in the country – Atlanta, Chicago, Tampa and Columbia, South Carolina. A befitting celebration and cause from Seagram’s – America’s #1-selling gin – and I’ll drink to that.