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Is There Still Awards Season Promise for ‘The Birth of a Nation’?

Today the NAACP became the first major American organization to nominate Nate Parker’s beleaguered film after 17-year-old rape allegations resurfaced in August.

After being implicated in a sexual-assault scandal and tanking at the box office, The Birth of a Nation is finally gaining some of the awards attention.

This morning, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced that the film had received six nominations for the NAACP Image Awards, an annual awards show featuring the cultural achievements of African-American and social justice-oriented artists. It’s Birth’s first major awards-season plaudit since 17-year-old rape allegations involving Nate Parker and the film’s co-writer Jean McGianni Celestin resurfaced in major publications in August: Though the film has a 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and received Audience and Grand Jury prizes at the Sundance Film Festival in January, it’s so far been shut out of Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, Independent Spirit, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards nominations.

The NAACP tapped Parker for three plaudits, including Outstanding Actor, Directing, and Writing. The film was also nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture and Independent Motion Picture, while co-star Aja Naomi King was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Birth tied only with Barry Jenkins’ critically adoredMoonlight for the highest number of Image nominations received.

It’s not so surprising that Birth is getting Image Awards attention — exit polls during the film’s opening weekend found that close to 60 percent of the film’s audience was African American. The fact that the NAACP has been so far the only major American organization to nominate the film after sexual-assault allegations resurfaced, however, points to something of a double standard in Hollywood.

The Daily Beastrecently resurfaced two sexual-harassment suits brought against Manchester by the Sea star Casey Affleck on the set of his 2010 film, I’m Still Here. Manchester, also raved about at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, has been nominated for five Golden Globe, five Independent Spirit, six Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and eight Critics Choice awards.