Monday, July 22, 2024

Snubbed by the Oscars in 2015, Ava Duvernay’s Magnificent “Selma” is On CBS Tonight


When I saw “Selma” at its first screening in November 2014, I thought this will win all the Oscars. And this was before the John Legend-Common song, “Glory,” was added to it.

As it turned out, “Selma” was totally snubbed. It got a Best Picture nod, and one for the song, and nothing else. Nothing for director Ava Duvernay, or the actors, especially David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King. Or cinematographer Bradford Young, who is Black.

There was even a star studded premiere. But the studio, Paramount, panicked when criticism came out of nowhere saying Duvernay had purposely made President Lyndon B. Johnson look bad in the movie. It was a ridiculous claim, but it snowballed fast. Whichever Oscar publicist came up with this was no doubt proud of themselves. The Oscar race turned to “Birdman” vs. “Boyhood,” good movies that were not nearly as important or well crafted.

The plot twist: “Glory” won Best Song. That was small consolation. Duvernay and Oyelow and Young were all robbed. But the Academy had yet to diversify. If “Selma” were released now, it might be a different story.

So please watch “Selma” Tonight and see what would have been– just seven years ago. A great movie.

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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