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Why Selma Got Snubbed in the Oscar Nominations

Updated on January 18, 2015

Selma, as a movie about black demonstrations in Selma, Alabama, for voting rights, it is very accurate for the most part. For those with the intimate knowledge of what actually happened because they were present, the worst criticism has been the portrayal of President Johnson and Mr. King. In the movie, the director made it adversarial at times probably to give it tension and friction. However, those who were present during these face-offs all state this was not the case. Johnson and King were allies and Johnson wanted blacks to have the right to vote. They state the meetings in the film were not filled with tension but friendly and cordial. Other than this distortion of history (many whites were supporting King), the film has been praised for its brutal scenes of police brutality on peaceful marches.

Was the distortion the reason for an Oscar snub? Or, was it because most of the members of the nomination committee are white? None of the fine actors in the movie got a nomination for best actor. This racial snub has only occurred one other time in the past 14 years, where none of the nominees were people of color. But, Selma did get nominated for Best Picture and Best Song. What really is more important, Best Picture or Best Actor? A Best Picture is a win for the actors and director because it is a product of their efforts. Is race really involved here, or are those just complaining and poor losers and using the race card? It has been 30 years since The Color Purple was released. It is epic for the portrayal of black slaves and had mostly a black cast. Its director was Steven Spielberg, a white man. This famous film got 11 Oscar nominations, but won zero. Was the Oscar nomination committee racists then?

However, according to an insider the reason is really about when the film is released. Film releases that have time to send out DVDs, set up interviews, and open access to production to the Oscar committee have a better chance. Timing is everything in life and with movie Oscar nominations, films released after December 1st nearly have a kiss of death upon them. If the film is released after Dec 15th, there is little chance enough time to lobby the committee exists. An exception this year is American Sniper, a film by Clint Eastwood. This movie was released after the 15th, yet, has garnered six Oscar nominations. I suspect, Clint Eastwood, being the director had something to do with this.

Best Picture (besides Selma) Nominations are:

“Birdman” – 9
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – 9
“The Imitation Game” – 8
“Boyhood” – 6
“American Sniper” – 6
“Whiplash” – 5
“Interstellar” – 5
“Foxcatcher” – 5

This is an excellent pack to choose from. The acting in all of them is superb, it is REALLY hard to choose a single film as the BEST. But BEST means the film has no flaws in it. Interstellar does have a script issue because it is not 100% clear in the end. Whiplash is astonishing acting about being a jazz drummer. It was very potent, intense. American Sniper about what war does to those who go and those who are left at home and how it changes everything. It is a movie about dueling snipers on opposing sides, a true story. Bradley Cooper's best ever acting. Boyhood is about a boy growing up and a life story. It was filmed over a 12 year period of the same boy. Good, but not the BEST. Selma is graphic and violent at times. The acting by mostly unknown's is very good. The epic confrontation between King and his followers and the white police is just hard to watch at times. Without this element of violence, the film would be rather boring. The Imitation Game is another true story about a homosexual genius who creates the world's first computer that breaks Hitler's Enigma code. The acting and story are riveting as is the room size computer! Birdman is about a washed up actor who is trying to make one last comeback to relive his glory days. It is a gritty film, solid acting, real. But, it is just a lesser film compared to the others. I can't see this being the BEST picture. Foxcatcher is about a very rich man with a passion to create the USA Olympic wrestling team. A true story that runs it course and ends in murder. The acting is superb.


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