Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Paramount Streaming Ava Duvernay’s Snubbed “Selma” for Free After Warner’s Does Same for “Just Mercy”


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.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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