Nelson George has an article in the New York Times today titled:
Still Too Good, Too Bad or Invisible
The following paragraph pretty much captures why I make documentary films and write science fiction. I would only add "Are they scientists?"
"Looking at these Oscar-nominated films, we should ask: Are black characters given a real back story and real-world motivations? Are they agents of their own destiny or just foils for white characters? Are they too noble to be real? Are they too ghetto to be flesh and blood? Do any of these characters point to a way forward?"
Nelson George writes about four movies that feature African American actors: Flight, Django Unchained, Lincoln, and Beasts of the Southern Wild. The Oscar nominees are Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, and Quvenzhané Wallis, however George discusses many more than the three characters these played. He is searching for character complexity and only finds it in Wink, the father in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
I'm not so particular a critic, I like to see African Americans playing all types of characters reflecting the true diversity within the African American community (and our scientists). I expect there to always be another film so no one film MUST carry the weight of the entire African American community.
Let's keep writing complex characters in our science fiction and maybe, just maybe, they will find their way into a feature film.