ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

How on earth did Straight Outta Compton get only ONE Oscar nomination? One. One nomination. It is almost criminal. This review is going to be more of a rant, but there will be praise going towards this film in almost every aspect. Here goes another year at the Oscars and there’s always one film that gets missed out. Last year it was Selma, and now this film, it’s so startling clear that there is a lack of diversity, and why? We're getting whitewashed films like Pan and Exodus: Gods & Kings, and behind the scenes black actors and directors aren't being recognised for their talents.

2015 has packed some seriously incredible performances across all genres. However, Straight Outta Compton boasts without question the most impactful, intense, raw and realistic performances of the year. So why for gods sake have none of these actors been Oscar nominated. O'Shea Jackson Jr does not do an impression of his Dad, Ice Cube, Jackson becomes him, he transforms and lives the role and it is breathtaking! Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, an absolutely fucking fierce performance, the raw power and intensity he portrays sells his role as the famous music producer. Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E left me with a tear running down my face by the end of the film, my word he is so convincing as a man desperate to make it to the top, and when he does friendships and brotherhood stretches out and breaks.

Paul Giamatti yet again proves why he is one of the best actors working today, what a transformation even in the simplest of terms! I cannot praise this phenomenal cast enough, what was going through the brains of the Academy when they breezed past these performances?

And then there's F. Gary Gray, whose direction is nothing short of impeccable. He captures the time period these boys grew up in, and stirs the feeling of constant fear and anxiety between the brute law enforcements and the citizens living in terror of the gun. The way Gray stages the live show performances feel so real, almost as if he'd stepped back in time and filmed the shows there and then. Why is he not bloody nominated for best frickin' director?

Considering the film spans over 140 minutes, there isn't a single moment you're left looking at the time, as from the moment the film begins you are already gripped with the highly tense drug bust sequence, and from them on the drama and narrative unfolds in such style and believability, you'd be hard pressed to find any flaws with this damn-near perfect true life story.

This aggression I feel whilst I'm writing this is aimed at the Academy, I don't think I've ever felt more defensive about a film not being recognised for its merits before. The Academy need to bloody rethink their strategy, I know it all boils down to opinion at the end of the goddamn day but part of me feels it is a fact that this film has astonishing performances and sublime directing.


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