The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and of all the snubs (O Lego Movie, where art thou) one towered above the rest: Selma.
The movie, which depicts Martin Luther King’s historic march on Selma, Alabama, nabbed a Best Picture nomination. That should be enough, right? No, not right. Not right at all. Actor David Oyewolo, one of 2014′s breakout stars, gave what many consider to be the year’s best performance as MLK. He was also considered a lock for a Best Actor nomination, but this morning, as J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine, and Alfonso Cuaron announced the nominations, Oyewolo’s name was nowhere to be heard. Taking his spot was surprise nominee Bradley Cooper, who himself gave a moving performance as a real-life figure in American Sniper, but who didn’t have the challenge of realising someone as iconic as the civil rights leader.
But Oyewolo wasn’t even Selma’s most egregious snub. Ava DuVernay, roundly praised for her stunning realization of one of the most critical moments in recent American history, did not get the Best Director nomination she profoundly deserved. Now, a category that once flirted with two female nominees (Angelina Jolie was a contender for Unbroken) has none. Instead, Bennett Miller scored his second directing nod for the perfectly fine but not transcendent Foxcatcher.
You don’t ever want to take anything away from the nominees, all of whom deserve to be there for doing great work, but it’s a shame when great movies about minorities, made prinicipally by minorities, failed to get recognized on such a huge stage. Plus, Selma was just a really fantastic movie, made with passion and vision. There are explanations as to why the movie missed out on some major nominations, but those won’t help assuage some pretty disappointed people. Check out some of the best reactions on Twitter, below.
“SELMA? One of the best pics of the year. But the directing, script, all the acting, & cinematography? Meh. Nice song, though.”— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 15, 2015
the biggest issue with Selma is that they didn’t name it LBJ— Rembert Browne (@rembert) January 15, 2015
It’s OK, everybody. 12 Years a Slave won so that movies like Selma would never, ever have to go through that again.— Wesley Morris (@Wesley_Morris) January 15, 2015
Selma got robbed. Plain and simple. Director. Writer. Actor. Robbed. Robbed. Robbed.— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) January 15, 2015
How in the world could Selma not get nominations for—at least—screenplay, actor...? What was the Academy watching (or not seeing)?— Richard Brody (@tnyfrontrow) January 15, 2015
Paramount’s PR department really should not be congratulating itself on its SELMA strategy.— Matt Zoller Seitz (@mattzollerseitz) January 15, 2015
Imagine liking American Sniper more than Selma.— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) January 15, 2015
Selma directed itself!— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 15, 2015
Naturally, DuVernay herself handled the snub with grace:
Happy Birthday, Dr. King. An Oscar gift for you. To SELMA cast + crew led by our miracle David Oyelowo! To Common + Legend! Kudos! March on!— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) January 15, 2015