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Selma Snub Overshadows Announcement of Oscar Nominations

 

     Academy Award Nominations 2015

      by Kam Williams

 

Selma Snub Overshadows Announcement of Oscar Nominations

 

 

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel have emerged as the early Oscar favorites after garnering nine Academy Award nominations each. Both of those films are excellent movies and well-deserving of all the accolades they’ve received.

 

Nevertheless, the simultaneous snub of Selma is a little mind-boggling. The critically-acclaimed civil rights saga is enjoying the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating (99%) of any of the Oscar hopefuls, yet was only rewarded with nominations in the Best Picture and Best Song (“Glory”) categories.

selma-movie

Why didn’t Ava DuVernay become the first African-American female director nominated, as most insiders had predicted? Her slot was ostensibly given to Bennett Miller, the director of Foxcatcher, which wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture.

And why wasn’t Selma star David Oyelowo recognized for his powerful portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King? To add insult to injury, the Academy Award nominations were announced on January 15th, Dr. King’s birthday. Given the glaring omission, one can’t help but note that all of the nominees in the acting categories are Caucasian, perhaps a reflection of the predominantly-white Academy voting membership.

Film Fact Based FracasAnother contributing factor to Selma’s stock suddenly tanking, undoubtedly, was the sharp criticism directed at it by Joseph Califano in a scathing op-ed printed in the Washington Post. The former assistant to Lyndon Johnson takes issue with the movie’s suggestion that the President’s was a reluctant supporter of the march and the Voting Rights Act, when “in fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea.” Califano concludes his piece with the assertion that the picture “should be ruled out for consideration” this awards season.

Granted, the film was inaccurate in its portrayal of President Johnson. However, anyone who as actually seen the movie knows that LBJ was not cast as a villain, but more as a sympathetic figure in need of persuasion.

Director - Ava DuVernay

Director – Ava DuVernay

To her credit, director DuVernay avoided the familiar Hollywood formula which would have a group of imperiled blacks folks rescued by a great white savior on a pedestal. Instead, she opted to spread the praise around, acknowledging pivotal roles played not only by such icons as Dr. King and John Lewis, but by lesser-known, Selma local activists like Annie Lee Cooper and Cager Lee.

 

What I find very disheartening about the Selma smear campaign is that other historical dramas in the Oscar race, including The Imitation Game and American Sniper, have basically been given a pass despite whispered rumors of their having also taken liberties with the truth. For, such license didn’t prevent Lawrence of Arabia, A Beautiful Mind, Schindler’s List, Argo, The Last Emperor or The King’s Speech from winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Given how moving and meaningful a film Selma is, it’s sad to think that a few narrow-minded detractors with a patently-political agenda might have actually succeeded in derailing it.

 

 

 

Complete List of Academy Award Nominations

 

Best Actor

  • Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
  • Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
  • Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
  • Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

 

Best Actress

  • Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
  • Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
  • Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
  • Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
  • Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
  • Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
  • Edward Norton, “Birdman”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
  • J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
  • Laura Dern, “Wild”
  • Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
  • Emma Stone, “Birdman”
  • Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

 

Cinematography

  • “Birdman”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Ida”
  • “Mr. Turner”
  • “Unbroken”

 

Costume Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Inherent Vice”
  • “Into the Woods”
  • “Maleficent”
  • “Mr. Turner”

 

Directing

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
  • Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
  • Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
  • Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”

 

Foreign Language Film

  • “Ida,” Poland
  • “Leviathan,” Russia
  • “Tangerines,” Estonia
  • “Timbuktu,” Mauritania
  • “Wild Tales,” Argentina

 

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “Foxcatcher”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”

 

Original Score

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Mr. Turner”
  • “The Theory of Everything”

 

Adapted Screenplay

  • “American Sniper”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Inherent Vice”
  • “The Theory of Everything”
  • “Whiplash”

 

Original Screenplay

  • “Birdman”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “Foxcatcher”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “Nightcrawler”

 

Best Picture

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Selma”
  • “The Theory of Everything”
  • “Whiplash”

 

Animated Feature Film

  • “Big Hero 6”
  • “The Boxtrolls”
  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
  • “Song of the Sea”
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

 

Documentary Feature

  • “Citizenfour”
  • “Finding Vivian Maier”
  • “Last Days in Vietnam”
  • “The Salt of the Earth”
  • “Virunga”

 

Documentary Short Subject

  • “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
  • “Joanna”
  • “Our Curse”
  • “The Reaper (La Parka)”
  • “White Earth”

 

Film Editing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Boyhood”
  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Whiplash”

 

Original Song

  • “Everything Is Awesome,” “The Lego Movie”
  • “Glory,” “Selma”
  • “Grateful, “Beyond the Lights”
  • “I”m Not Gonna Miss You,” “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
  • “Lost Stars,” “Begin Again”

 

Production Design

  • “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
  • “The Imitation Game”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Into the Woods”
  • “Mr. Turner”

 

Animated Short Film

  • “The Bigger Picture”
  • “The Dam Keeper”
  • “Feast”
  • “Me and My Moulton”
  • “A Single Life”

 

Live Action Short Film

  • “Aya”
  • “Boogaloo and Graham”
  • “Butter Lamp”
  • “Parvaneh”
  • “The Phone Call”

 

Sound Editing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “The Hobbitt: The Battle of the Five Armies”
  • “Interstellar”

 

Sound Mixing

  • “American Sniper”
  • “Birdman”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “Unbroken”
  • “Whiplash”

 

Visual Effects

  • “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
  • “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy”
  • “Interstellar”
  • “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
  •  

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