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Selma Provokes Race and Gender Debate After Oscar Nominations

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Selma Provokes Race and Gender Debate After Oscar Nominations

Ava DuVernay directs David Oyelowo-Martin Luther King Jr. during the production of Selma. Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

ART NEWS

Selma engenders the fight for women and minority rights in the movie industry despite been snubbed by the Academy Awards

Image: David Oyelowo -Martin Luther King Jr.- with other religious leaders and protesters in the movie Selma walk through the street in the quest for racial equality and the right to vote

David Oyelowo (Martin Luther King Jr.) with other religious leaders and protesters in the movie Selma. Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

BY KAZAD

LOS ANGELES — After the Golden Globe Awards, the award seasons intensified Thursday with the announcement of the Oscar nominations by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As expected, many of the movies that did well during the Golden Globe Awards were also nominated for the Oscar. One movie that did not have a great showing at the Golden Globe but was nominated for the Academy Awards is Ava DuVernay’s Selma. The movie won its only Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

On Thursday, Selma was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song composed by Glory by John Legend & Common. The fact that the critical acclaimed movie was nominated for only two awards, in spite great expectations, has given room to race and gender controversy. For many industry watchers, the maltreatment of a movie based on the life one of America’s historic figures must have been engendered by the denouncement of the “other”. Above all they contend that it affirms the biased criticism the movie has been receiving for weeks.

Since it came out, Selma has been the target of severe criticism from those who think it is historically inaccurate.  To buttress their argument, they cite a section of the movie which they say present Lynden B. Johnson(LBJ) as lukewarm to the advancement of African American and the actualization of voting rights. While many agree with the critics of this section of the movie, there is a general consensus that it is not enough reason to minimize this epochal movie. “This is a great movie with great actors and amazing cinematography,” says Andrew who just finished watching the movie in Baltimore. Many who have seen the movie share this view. In spite of all the criticism, the movie has received raving reviews. When it was shown in Selma recently, it brought tears to many eyes. The older audiences were taken on a historical trip to the past when blacks were tormented and brutalized. To effect change in Selma, Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) embarked on a protest, walking hand in hand through the streets with other protesters. What came after was total assault on the protesters by the police. Skulls were smashed, bones were broken and people were killed.

Although Selma was nominated for two Oscar awards by the Academy, it was not the most celebrated film of the nominations despite doing better than many of the nominated movies. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood were showered with honors. Also nominated were The Grand Budapest Hotel, by Wes Anderson, and The Imitation Game, by Morten Tyldum. Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash were also nominated for several awards.

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While many of movies nominated are good enough to be nominated, the minimization of Selma as a movie deserving of greater attention at the Academy Awards has continued to be a sour point , and critics are not holding back on their criticism of the Academy.   Since the announcement was made, the Academy has been bombarded with criticism of racial and gender prejudice. On Twitter and Facebook, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has come under intense criticism for not paying close attention to movies by and featuring people of color and women.

Besides the fact that many of the people nominated are white, many have criticized the Academy for not honoring women. Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, many people have noted, should have been nominated for best director. In addition, they also contend that David Oyelowo who gave a rousing performance as Martin Luther King should have been nominated for best actor.  

Although there has not been any direct response from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the speculation is that the major reason movies like Selma do not make the cut for nominations is because they are not released in time. And, since movie critics do not have the time to see movies that are released late, they cannot be included or will make minimal impact during the Oscar Awards nominations. That argument has however been countered by critics of the Academy who contend that the job of critics, which is made up of dominantly white men, is to critique movies no matter when they were released. As a critic note “they need to get off their butt and do their work.”

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The 87th Oscar will be held on Feb. 22. Below is list of nominations. Here are the nominees in all categories:

Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees

Steve Carell

Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper

American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch

The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Eddie Redmayne

The Theory of Everything

Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees

Ethan Hawke

Boyhood

Edward Norton

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Mark Ruffalo

Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons

Whiplash

Robert Duvall

The Judge

Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees

Marion Cotillard

Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones

The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore

Still Alice

Rosamund Pike

Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon

Wild

Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees

Patricia Arquette

Boyhood

Laura Dern

Wild

Keira Knightley

The Imitation Game

Emma Stone

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Meryl Streep

Into the Woods

Animated Feature Film

Nominees

How to Train your Dragon 2

Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold

Song of the Sea

Tomm Moore and Paul Young

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Big Hero 6

Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli

The Boxtrolls

Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight

Best Picture

Nominees

American Sniper

Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan, Producers

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole, Producers

Boyhood

Richard Linklater and Cathleen Sutherland, Producers

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson, Producers

The Imitation Game

Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman, Producers

Selma

Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

The Theory of Everything

Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten, Producers

Whiplash

Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster, Producers

Cinematography

Nominees

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Emmanuel Lubezki

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Robert Yeoman

Ida

Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski

Mr. Turner

Dick Pope

Unbroken

Roger Deakins

Costume Design

Nominees

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Milena Canonero

Inherent Vice

Mark Bridges

Into The Woods

Colleen Atwood

Maleficent

Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive

Mr. Turner

Jacqueline Durran

Directing

Nominees

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood

Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher

Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game

Morten Tyldum

Film Editing

Nominees

American Sniper

Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach

Boyhood

Sandra Adair

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Barney Pilling

The Imitation Game

William Goldenberg

Whiplash

Tom Cross

Foreign Language Film

Nominees

Leviathan

Russia

Tangerines

Estonia

Timbuktu

Mauritania

Wild Tales

Argentina

Ida

Poland

Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees

Foxcatcher

Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier

Guardians of the Galaxy

Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Production Design

Nominees

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

The Imitation Game

Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald

Interstellar

Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

Into the Woods

Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Mr. Turner

Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Sound Editing

Nominees

Unbroken

Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

American Sniper

Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Brent Burge and Jason Canovas

Interstellar

Richard King

Sound Mixing

Nominees

American Sniper

John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga

Interstellar

Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten

Unbroken

Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee

Whiplash

Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Visual Effects

Nominees

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist

Guardians of the Galaxy

Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould

Interstellar

Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

Music (Original Score)

Nominees

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Alexandre Desplat

The Imitation Game

Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar

Hans Zimmer

Mr. Turner

Gary Yershon

The Theory of Everything

Jóhann Jóhannsson

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Nominees

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood

Written by Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher

Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler

Written by Dan Gilroy

Documentary (Short Subject)

Nominees

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry

Joanna

Aneta Kopacz

Our Curse

Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki

The Reaper (La Parka)

Gabriel Serra Arguello

White Earth

  1. Christian Jensen

Documentary (Feature)

Nominees

Citizenfour

Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky

Finding Vivian Maier

John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Last Days in Vietnam

Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester

The Salt of the Earth

Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier

Virunga

Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Short Film (Animated)

Nominees

The Dam Keeper

Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi

Feast

Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed

Me and My Moulton

Torill Kove

A Single Life

Joris Oprins

The Bigger Picture

Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees

Short Film (Live Action)

Nominees

Aya

Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis

Boogaloo and Graham

Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney

Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)

Hu Wei and Julien Féret

Parvaneh

Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger

The Phone Call

Mat Kirkby and James Lucas

Music (Original Song)

Nominees

The Lego Movie

“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson

Selma

“Glory” from Selma; Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn

Beyond the Lights

“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me; Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond

Begin Again

“Lost Stars” from Begin Again; Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Nominees

Inherent Vice

Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything

Screenplay by Anthony McCarten

Whiplash

Written by Damien Chazelle

American Sniper

Written by Jason Hall

The Imitation Game

Written by Graham Moore

 

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