Friday, January 16, 2015 at 6:23 AM

Oscar Snubs ‘Selma.’ Good!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

I not only urge you to shun this movie, but hope the major arbiters of artistic merit, especially those at the Golden Globes and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will snub it as well.

(“‘Selma’ Defames LBJ to Make MLK Look, What, Even Better?” The iPINIONS Journal, January 5, 2015)

2490295400000578-2910567-image-a-45_1421271133977I took a lot of flak, especially from fellow Blacks, for issuing this clarion call not only for moviegoers to boycott Selma, but for awards syndicates to snub it too. But nothing vindicated my call quite like its director, Ava DeVernay, proffering this fatuous explanation for her willfully distorted depiction of the relationship between LBJ and MLK:

History is for each of us to interpret for ourselves, so anyone’s opinion is valid, truly it is.

(CBS Morning Show, January 7, 2015)

In other words, never mind historical facts, if you think Hitler rescued six million Jews from slaughter by the Soviets, that’s valid. Sadly, her explanation only makes DeVernay seem as ignorant as she is irresponsible.

This is why it served her right that:

  • moviegoers are shunning Selma in favor of such unabashedly fictional fare as Taken 3, Into the Woods, and The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies;
  • the Golden Globes snubbed it a few weeks ago by recognizing it only for John Legend’s theme song (ironically, reinforcing a racial stereotype); and
  • the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences followed suit this morning by awarding it token nominations for Best Song and Best Picture — the latter of which is not the honor it used to be, considering that the Academy nominates ten instead of only five pictures these days for this most coveted Oscar.

For the record, though, here is how the Washington Post reported this snub:

The most obvious snub was Selma, Ava DuVernay’s moving biopic about Martin Luther King Jr. Despite a nod for best picture and best original song (for Common and John Legend’s recent Golden Globe-winning “Glory”), the film’s director and actors were shut out in their respective categories. David Oyelowo missed out on a best actor nomination, but more surprisingly, Ava DuVernay was not acknowledged in the best director category, a nomination that would have been the first for an African American woman.

Cue the cries of racism:

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.51.26 AM

In fact, the increasingly popular Huffington Post, which too often panders to Blacks, promptly blared – “White Gold: Whitest Oscars since ’98…,”– as if Blacks are entitled to a quota of nominations, regardless of the merit of their work.

You’d never know that, just last year, this same Academy, whose over 6,000 voting members are 94 percent White (77 percent male, and average age 62), not only nominated Blacks in most major categories, but also awarded the most-coveted Oscar, for best picture, to a “Black movie,” 12 Years a Slave. In fact, members went beyond tokenism by awarding an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress to Black Lupita Nyong’o and another for Best Adapted Screenplay to Black John Ridley.

Frankly, it has become farcical to watch race-baiting activists, like Reverend Al Sharpton, perform racial tantrums every time this lily-white Academy fails to meet some de facto quota of Black nominations. It would’ve occurred to well-intentioned civil rights activists long ago to negotiate behind closed doors to better integrate the Academy. Failing that, genuine Black pride would’ve compelled them to simply establish their own version of the Oscars. And they could’ve named their Academy Award of Merit, The Leroys – given that there’s an “Uncle Leroy” in practically every Black family.

In a similar vein, am I the only one who finds it curious that Hollywood cast British actors to portray the two most admired men in U.S. history: Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln three years ago; and David Oyelowo as MLK in Selma last year…?

NOTE: Folklore has it that Margaret Herrick, the Academy director during the 1930s, had an uncle named Oscar whose features seemed to have been used to mold the famous golden statue. Further, that this resemblance inspired Academy staff to begin calling their Award of Merit, The Oscars—in homage to her uncle.

Related commentaries:
Selma defames LBJ

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Thursday, at 11:53 a.m.

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