Here Are The Nominees For the 2020 NAACP Image Awards!

The NAACP has announced their nominees for the 2020 Image Awards!

And here they are:

Outstanding Motion Picture
Bad Boys For Life
Da 5 Bloods
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
One Night In Miami…

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture
David E. Talbert – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Gina Prince-Bythewood – The Old Guard
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version
Regina King – One Night In Miami…

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Anthony Mackie – The Banker
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
Forest Whitaker – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Will Smith – Bad Boys For Life

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Issa Rae – The Photograph
Janelle Monáe – Antebellum
Madalen Mills – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Tracee Ellis Ross – The High Note
Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Aldis Hodge – One Night In Miami…
Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
Clarke Peters – Da 5 Bloods
Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Glynn Turman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Anika Noni Rose – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Gabourey Sidibe – Antebellum
Nia Long – The Banker
Phylicia Rashad – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Taylour Paige – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture
David E. Talbert – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Kemp Powers – One Night In Miami…
Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
Pete Docter, Kemp Powers & Mike Jones – Soul
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
Farewell Amor
Miss Juneteenth
The 24th
The Banker

Outstanding International Motion Picture
Ainu Mosir
His House
Night of the Kings
The Last Tree
The Life Ahead

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture
Dayo Okeniyi – Emperor
Dominique Fishback – Project Power
Jahi Di’Allo Winston – Charm City Kings
Jahzir Bruno – The Witches
Madalen Mills – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
Da 5 Bloods
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
The Banker

Outstanding Animated Motion Picture
Over the Moon
Trolls World Tour

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Motion Picture
Ahmir-Khalib Thompson aka Questlove – Soul
Angela Bassett – Soul
Chris Rock – The Witches
Jamie Foxx – Soul
Phylicia Rashad – Soul

Outstanding Short Form (Live Action)
Baldwin Beauty
Black Boy Joy
Gets Good Light
Mr. & Mrs. Ellis

Outstanding Short Form (Animated)
Cops and Robbers
The Power of Hope

Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture)
Loira Limbal – Through the Night
Melissa Haizlip – Mr. Soul!
Nadia Hallgren – Becoming
Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version
Remi Weekes – His House

Before anyone makes any jokes about that Best Picture nomination for Bad Boys For Life — hey, that was a fun movie.  If the Academy ever had gone through with that plan to start awarding an Oscar for Best Popular Film, I assume that Bad Boys For Life probably would have been contender.  Anyway, the winners of the Image Awards will be announced on March 27th so you’ve all got a lot of times to consider these nominees.

So, get to considering!

Song of the Day: Emperor – Witches Sabbath

For his first eleven nights in this world, my little buddy Oliver was about as peaceful as they come. Oh, I’d heard the cautionary tales. Men driven mad by blood-curdling screams through endless sleepless nights. But not my Ollie. He’s a happy baby. Maybe his early introduction to classical music helped.

And then came the twelfth night, and stomach cramps, or indigestion, or some god-forsaken gremlin in the bowels. Whatever the malady, it was nothing I could resolve, and four hours of torture later I turned to Google in an act of sheer desperation. The only suggestion I stumbled upon that I had not already tried was white noise. If only I had some! Or did I?

“White noise” turned out to do the trick perfectly. He was sound asleep with a smile on his face within minutes, and I think Ollie has a new favorite band. Thanks Satan; you’re a godsend.

Ten Years #21: Emperor

Decade of scrobbling countdown:
21. Emperor (1,301 plays)
Top track (119 plays): I Am the Black Wizards, from In the Nightside Eclipse (1994)

I don’t know that I would call Emperor the most influential band in black metal, but Ihsahn and Samoth’s brainchild definitely ranks among the top 5. Without ever abandoning the sinister, aggressive atmospherics, nor dropping the tremolo guitar, blast beats and double bass, or shrill, shrieking vocals standard for the style, Emperor managed to infuse black metal with a level of technical expertise and creative song structure that appealed to listeners far beyond the isolated genre. Their progressive rock and classical flares drew in a broad fan base that never had the time for Bathory’s viking tendencies or Darkthrone and Mayhem’s bm in the raw. They were certainly one of the first black metal bands that caught my eye, at a time when their contemporaries just sounded like noise to me. It’s no wonder that at this point they’ve ascended to 21st on my decade-spanning chart.

Talent and attention did not necessarily go hand in hand in early 90s black metal. Mayhem’s music left a lot to be desired, and Burzum’s discography bears some major flops. Emperor are more the exception than the norm in that they achieved a fairly professional level of quality while actively participating in Euronymous’ circle of murder and arson. Part of that, I suspect, stems from Ihsahn’s ability to keep his hands clean in the midst of it. Ihsahn managed to say out of trouble–or at least not get caught–while Samoth, Faust, and Tchort were all doing time. Persistent similarities from In the Nightside Eclipse all the way to Ihsahn’s most recent solo works suggest that he might have done the lion’s share of the song-writing all along. (Their final album, Prometheus, was composed by him exclusively.) Whoever wrote it, the refreshing originality of Emperor’s discography has had significant consequences. They didn’t set the standard for what black metal in the 90s ought to sound like, though plenty of bands copied them. Rather, they set the standard for how the genre might progress. Emperor took a very formulaic split-off from thrash and demonstrated time and again that it could be one of the most diverse, open-ended genres of music on the market.

A Blaze in the Northern Sky: Music for October (part 6)

Happy Halloween. Hope you enjoy the conclusion to my black metal countdown.

10. Bathory – Bestial Lust
Were I outlining a history of black metal, this song probably wouldn’t make the cut. By mid-80s standards it might be black metal, but by early Bathory standards it’s pretty straight forward thrash. That is, from a stylistic perspective it was already in 1985 a throwback to the genre Bathory had evolved out of. But it’s such an awesome song that, thrash and black metal being so intimately tied in the 80s, I think I can justify it. I considered giving the ten slot to In Conspiracy with Satan instead. Feel free to humor it as the more appropriate choice.

9. Mörk Gryning – Tusen år har gått
When I think of quintessential black metal, stylistically speaking, the first album that comes to mind isn’t In the Nightside Eclipse, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, or any other obvious staple. It’s Mörk Gryning’s 1995 release, Tusen år har gått. This inexplicably forgotten Swedish band managed to capture every stereotype element of black metal perfectly in their debut release. If I personally ever aspired to start a black metal band, this album is what I would try to emulate.

8. Immortal – The Call of the Wintermoon
But when it comes to influence, to the legends go the glory. Immortal gained much of their fame for later works, with Call of the Wintermoon known best for its ridiculous music video, not the song itself. I avoided showing that video for a reason. 1992’s Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism is less noisy than a lot of its contemporaries, and its dark character shines through all the more because of it. This album, and this song especially, set a standard for black metal aesthetics. It’s one of the first to be so distinct from thrash that the influence is no longer immediately apparent.

7. Burzum – Key to the Gate
Varg Vikernes’s works being so album-oriented, I could think of very few individual tracks that maintained their greatness apart from their larger vision. But Key to the Gate always, for me at least, stood apart. The intro is absolutely demented, and yet it progresses into a well-structured song. For me it really captures Varg himself, a mind half brilliant and half warped beyond rationality. In explaining his historic past, Varg has been known to change his story frequently. Sometimes the church burnings, the murder, the primitivism all appears to be part of a rational and not altogether disagreeable plan. Sometimes he reveals himself a racist, homophobic, paranoid imbecile. The 2010 release Belus, his first in over a decade, is in striking contrast to Dissection’s Reinkaos. Following Jon Nödtveidt’s jail term for murdering a homosexual African man, his creative genius had left him. His next album was a failure, and he took his life not long after. Varg made some rather bold statements about Euronymous’s sexual orientation in explaining his motivation for murder (not to mention some claims to white supremacy that surpassed mere confusion to the point of complete ridiculousness). Yet after serving more than twice as long as Nödtveidt, his next album was a brilliant continuation of the old Burzum, as though no time had passed at all. There is a sort of unnatural complexity to him, and his music alike.

6. Dissection – Where Dead Angels Lie
But Jon Nödtveidt’s significance in at least this one instance should not be overlooked. Storm of the Light’s Bane, released in 1995, features perhaps the single most memorable black metal song I’ve ever heard. At least for a brief three years, Sweden’s Dissection was rivaling anything Norway had to offer. As so many black metal stories go, Nödtveidt’s suicide was nothing approaching traditional. I read that he blew his brains out sitting in the middle of a pentagram surrounded by candles, with a grimoire open before him.

5. Gorgoroth – Ritual
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Gaahl is overrated, but Hat, their vocalist from 1992 until 1995, suits me best. Their debut Pentagram is just as unforgiving as their later works, but with a lo-fi value that captures an essence of evil more effectively than brute force. The third track, Ritual, struck me the first time I heard it and remains still one of my favorite songs of the genre. (And it shares so much in common with Nattefrost that I almost have to believe it had a direct influence on his solo project.)

4. Darkthrone – Transilvanian Hunger
This one kind of goes without saying. If Kathaarian Life Code initiated the second wave of black metal, Transilvanian Hunger predicted its future. Primitive and raw on a whole new level (it was recorded three years before Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal), the album’s trance-like appeal might have some relation to Varg Vikernes’s lyrical contributions. I imagine it was more a matter though of fewer minds leading to a more consistant focus. It was the first Darkthrone album involving Nocturno Culto and Fenriz exclusively as band members.

3. Emperor – I am the Black Wizards
Emperor’s self-titled 1993 EP briefly pre-dates In the Nightside Eclipse and, along with two other EPs/demos of the era, features many of their first album’s classics in their unrefined, original forms. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the originals better (Emperor’s reunion performance of the song at Wacken 2006 is by far the best version of it out there), but the original appeals best to that rawness with which the second wave of black metal made its mark. All of the refined features that set Ihsahn’s song-writing apart–the heavy synth, the complex movements, the difficult guitar riffs–are present, but in this early form they still took second stage to that demented ethos black metal embraced for a few years in the early 90s.

2. Carpathian Forest – Shut Up, There is No Excuse to Live
If you question this placement get the fuck out of my article.

1. Mayhem – Funeral Fog
“Please excuse all the blood.” Dead’s suicide note, the artistic photographed rearrangement of his splattered brains for use on a future album cover, clothing buried with dead animals for weeks to reek of decay, Euronymous’s brutal cold-blooded murder with a knife to the skull, Varg Vikernes’s inclusion as the album’s bassist AFTER murdering its lead guitarist, the burning of the Fantoft stave church, the trial that lead to Faust’s confession of murdering a random stranger, Tchort’s imprisonment for grave desecration, Samoth’s imprisonment for arson… Black metal consumed itself in a real life horror story unrivaled in fiction between 1991 and 1993, and it all culminated in the release of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Funeral Fog must be appreciated with an eye towards the literal insanity that surrounded it. “In the middle of Transylvania, all natural life has from a long time ago gone. It’s thin and so beautiful.” We reflect on Elizabeth Bathory and Vlad Tepes as the real life icons of evil from which the cultural genre known as horror, 20th century serial killers not withstanding, was born. But in the early 90s, the middle of Transylvania was southern Norway.

Happy Halloween!

I leave you with a final treat that couldn’t stylistically make the cut.