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.