Dallas Native, Actress Irma P. Hall Talks Oscars Controversy

Dallas Native and Hollywood actress Irma P. Hall will be honored this Friday at the Denton Black Film Festival with a lifetime achievement award.

The living legend will be recognized for her body of work which includes over 100 television shows and movies.

You may recognize her as “Big Mama” from the film "Soul Food" or as “Aunt T” from "A Family Thing" but you would be surprised to know that acting was not Hall’s first choice.

"I never thought about acting. That’s the last thing I wanted to do,” said Hall. “I wanted to be a buyer for a store.”

The 80-year-old actress, whose career spans over four decades, started acting purely by accident while student teaching at a Dallas college.

"They were casting for the Wisemen and they didn’t have a black Wiseman, so I got drafted,” said Hall.

Soon after, actor and director Raymond St. Jacques hired her as interim publicist for Book of Numbers.

St. Jacques saw her performing at a poetry reading. A natural on stage, Hall was offered a role in St. Jacques his film.

Hall went on to become famous by portraying matriarch characters.

"I want to play their roles, I want to tell their stories so profoundly that no one will ever forget them. I don’t care if they know who I am,” said Hall.

Hall’s talents eventually led to more roles and many awards. She most recently acted in Spike Lee’s film "Chi-Raq" and has some words for today’s Academy Awards.

"When that first started, it was mainly white and mainly men and it has stayed that way,” said Hall. “It has not kept up with the changing of times.

The Denton Black Film Festival is a three-day event.

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