The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences intentionally overlooked # AvaDuVernay’s #Selma for awards because the cast wore “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts.
“Selma” brought the story of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the Civil Rights era back to life, and now we are right back to fighting for the same right the Black community fought for back in the 1960s. As people take to the streets in honor of George Floyd and the multiple slain Black women and men, the film “Selma” comes to mind. Now, David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in the film, is revealing that the cast’s support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is what angered the Academy and jeopardized their chances of winning at the Oscars.
At the time, the world was shattered by the killing of Eric Garner, whose last words were, “I can’t breathe.” During a chat on Screen Talks live Q&A series, Oyelowo opened up about the time the cast decided to honor Garner. “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,'” said the actor.
“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.”
DuVernay co-signed Oyelowo with a retweet captioned with “True Story.”