Sunday, January 25, 2009

An Officer and a Gentleman: African Americans in Cinema (3)

Jumping two entire decades from the last time an African American took home the coveted Academy Award for acting, we now take a look at An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).

Zack Mayo, played by Richard Gere, is a wanna-be Navy pilot who goes to aviator training camp and is pitted against his angry drill sergeant, Emil Foley, played by Lou Gossett Jr. who became the third African American to be was awarded an Academy Award for acting for this supporting role.

Though confident enough to become an aviator, Mayo is said by Foley to be too involved with himself to be a great pilot. While at aviator school Mayo befriends Sid Worley, played by David Keith.

It was not until Worley’s suicide over a lost love, does Mayo buck up and show the world that he is no longer a boy, but a man ready to take over the world. The film ends when Mayo busts into a factory where his girlfriend is working and carries her out in his arms.

Not one of the most memorable films, either in cinematography nor plot development, Gossatt's award may have been given more for a a lack of better choices, than for his acting ability.

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