Paramount did little for Ava Duvernay’s “Selma” when it came out several years ago. They gave it to no Oscar campaign and allowed a negative whispering campaign about LBJ’s portrayal in the film to wreck its chances. The film should have won Best Picture, Duvernay and star David Oyelowo should have been nominated for Best Director and Actor. Bradford Young should have been nominated for Best Cinematography.
I take that back: Oyelowo, who wasn’t even nominated, should have won Best Actor.
Now, in light of what’s going on, Paramount has put “Selma” on all digital platforms for free, for the month of June. It’s a phenomenal achievement. You have no excuses now for not seeing it.
This news comes as Warner Bros. has put “Just Mercy” on all platforms for free. This movie came out last fall with very little enthusiasm from Warners. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, Oscar winner Brie Larson, and the young superstar Michael B. Jordan are featured in Destin Daniel Cretton’s shoulda been a contender. When “Just Mercy” was shown at the Toronto Film Festival, I was convinced it would win the Oscar. But it was abandoned.
Now that Black Lives Matter has become in vogue, we’re going to see the studios go back and find their black films, the ones they ignored, and trot them out like prize ponies.
What else? Whoever got “Fruitvale Station” in the Weinstein Company bankruptcy, let’s see you do the same thing. And that’s just the start. Jordan made his debut in that one, directed by Ryan Coogler, before they went on to “Black Panther” together. I’d like to see Denzel Washington’s “Antwone Fisher” and “The Great Debaters” get that treatment, too. Let’s bring back all the films that were black-centric but failed to catch fire after critics loved them early on.
Well, if you wait long enough, everything comes around again. And just a PS, David Oyelowo has just told a story about the cast of “Selma” being snubbed at its Hollywood Premiere because in sympathy they wore “I Can’t Breathe” t shirts to memorialize Eric Garner. The story’s been confirmed. How atrocious.