In his debut film, Boyz N the Hood (1991), John Singleton depicted life on the streets of his native Los Angeles–not the famously sunny, palm-tree-lined boulevards but the tough, gang-ruled neighborhood of South Central. His portrait of three young black men growing up in Compton, where drive-by shootings were a terrifying fact of everyday life, was praised for its disturbing accuracy as well as for the depth and compassion with which it viewed all its characters. It became one of the first films with a largely black cast to break out as a mainstream hit, earning some $57 million at the box office. On February 20, 1992, the 24-year-old Singleton became the youngest person, and the first African American, ever to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Singleton also scored an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
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