Now here's a fascinating double bill: two sumptuous, sun-kissed prestige pictures, two soaring period dramas, two dewy-eyed, sentimental movies from respected white directors tackling, however obliquely, elements of the black experience. Though to be fair, Sydney Pollack's 'Out of Africa' (left) does all it can to avoid making any statement about the suffering of Africans under colonialism, placing focus instead on its white characters, played by Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, a pair of European settlers in Kenya.
Steven Spielberg's 'The Color Purple' (right), by contrast, stands as one of the first mainstream pictures to tackle historical black poverty head-on, and however you feel about Spielberg as director – was he really the right man to adapt Alice Walker's novel? – it was still a bold, unexpected piece of cinema. Both were nominated for 11 Oscars – but which one scored seven including Best Picture, and which went home completely empty handed? ‘Color Purple’ co-producer and soundtrack artist Quincy Jones was asked about the result following the ceremony, and was typically tight-lipped: ‘That’s the way it is,’ he said. ‘Someday we’re going to have to change that.’