The Academy Awards nominations were announced this morning, and among the nominees was Ruby Dee, who after 50 years in the business finally grabbed a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as 'Mama Lucas' in ‘American Ganster’. Mama Lucas was the mother of Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas played by Denzel Washington.
Dee, 83, is the second oldest Oscar nominee for acting ever. Gloria Stuart, nominated for 'Titanic' in 1998, was 87 at the time of her nomination. Ms. Dee’s role in the movie was small, but pivotal to the storyline of the film. It’s been a long time coming after over a half a century of brilliant film roles starting in the 1950’s. Even after the death of her beloved husband and often co-star, Ossie Davis in 2005, she has kept at her craft. She was also seen recently along side singer/actor Alicia Keys on the Sundance Channel’s Iconoclast, a series which pairs mature and young artist together.
In 2004 she along with Ossie Davis, Elton John, Joan Sutherland, John Williams, and Warren Beatty became the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1995 she and Ossie Davis were awarded the American National Medal of the Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, DC. In later years she has performed mostly in films written and directed by actor/director Spike LeCheck out this clip with Ms. Dee and Denzel Washington.