Reason behind shocking Oscars snub for 2014 film Selma revealed
Friday - 05/06/2020 14:47
The cast of Selma say the film was snubbed at the Oscars because they wore “I Can’t Breathe” protest T-shirts to the premiere
Actor David Oyelowo has revealed the film Selma wasn’t considered for as many Oscar nominations in 2014 because the cast wore protest T-shirts to the premiere.
Oyelowo, who played Dr Martin Luther King Jnr in the critically acclaimed biopic, said the cast was told they were “stirring sh*t” by the Academy after they donned “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts in protest of Eric Garner’s death in police custody in New York City that year.
He claimed members of the Academy then said they would not vote for the film because it “wasn’t (the cast’s) place” to protest.
Speaking on Screen Daily’s Screen Talks live Q&A series this week, Oyelowo recalled: “Six years ago, Selma coincided with Eric Garner being murdered. That was the last time we were in a place of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ (a slogan for the movement taken from Garner’s last words before he died).
“I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in protest.
“Members of the Academy called into the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring s***?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that’.”
He continued, “It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite.
“They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”
Backing up the claims against the Academy, which came under fire again this year for the lack of diversity among nominations, Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted “True story” along with a link to the original article.
Responding to the revelations, fans were equally as disappointed by the “unacceptable” actions of the Academy.
“Time for some new Academy members,” one responded to DuVernay’s tweet.
“This myth of, ‘liberal Hollywood’ needs to be exposed and corrected,” another wrote.
“This is trash and unacceptable,” another added.
While actor Reggie Watkins wrote simply: “Tired of this sh*t.”
Despite a nomination for best picture and best original song (which it won for John Legend and Common’s Glory) the director and actors from DuVernay’s moving biopic about Martin Luther King Jr were shut-out in their respective categories ahead of the 2015 Oscars.
When the nominations for Best Actor were listed, and all were white, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite quickly went viral.
This year, the hashtag circulated again when only one performer of colour was nominated across 20 possible spots – Best Actress nominee Cynthia Erivo, who played Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet.