Sunday, February 15, 2015

Oscars!: Selma


Movie: Selma
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Original Song ("Glory")

Okay, so if you have't seen Selma? Go see it. Go see it now.

It is a shameful thing that the only nomination it got was Best Picture -- it deserved more, many more. Ava DuVernay should have gotten a directing nomination -- her work was incredible. David Oyelowo should have gotten a Best Actor nomination. Paul Webb should have gotten a screenplay nod. It deserved all of these things, as its nomination for Best Picture shows, but it got none of them. I am still and will continue to be incensed over this. It was not right. It is my vote for Best Picture even though I am afraid it will be ignored.

Tom Wilkinson and Tim Roth were brilliant as LBJ and George Wallace, respectively, but even more brilliant is the choice to relegate them both to the sidelines of the movie. It's not their story; it's the story of the people, and of MLK as one of the leaders of those people. (Also also, Nigel Thatch was incendiary in the one scene he had as Malcolm X. He just owned the screen -- truly amazing). But Oyelowo was just... really, really good. One of the problems with a lot of discussion of MLK Jr. is that we tend to focus on the inspiration rather than the man, and this movie manages to show both. We see the way he moved as a lynchpin within the movement, holding its fragile alliances together, even as he himself was torn and fractured about what was happening and his responsibilities to his family, not to mention the whole not wanting to get horrifically killed and tortured thing. His performance is solid and magnetic, and yet DuVernay and Oyelowo manage to, as MLK Jr. endeavored to do himself, keep the focus not on him, but on the events around him and the people he is trying to lead. This is an ensemble piece, a community piece, and it's really a work of art.

You know, we as a nation are in danger of turning a blind eye to this part of our history in favor of the hatred it fought. Ignorance is not acceptable as a defense. These things happened, and they are in danger of happening again if we do not keep up the struggle, as Ferguson shows. Selma is... brave. It's important. It is really just excellent, and it deserves more than the establishment is willing to give it. Go see it. Vote with your dollars. Make your voice heard.