‘Selma’ marches into history books

‘Selma’ marches into history books

DW SELMA

‘Tis the season to be jolly! But no, not because of the whole ‘Christmas’ thing. No, there is a much more important season heading into full swing right now- awards season!

Yes, it’s that time of year where the studios put out their ‘serious’ films. Films with ‘messages’ and that usually tell a harrowing true life tale. Actors will put on accents, feign a disability and drastically change their appearance. Expect to see more subtitles, more period settings and definitely less robots hitting each other on the head.

The recent announcement of this year’s Golden Globe nominations is the first indication about who are the serious contenders for the most important prize- The Oscars. This year’s contenders are a pretty typical list of war films (‘The Imitation Game’), biopics (‘Theory of Everything’), book adaptions (‘Gone Girl’) etc.

The most interesting takeaway was perhaps the performance of ‘Selma’ which is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. Now this may seem to fit in with the usual awards faire that I pointed out earlier, but one detail make it unique in awards history.

It was directed by a black woman.

Ava DuVernay is the first black female to be nominated for best director at the Golden Globes. And if ‘Selma’ can maintain its momentum of goodwill it is likely she will be the first black woman nominated for a BAFTA and an Oscar.

It’s been a good few years for black directors in Hollywood. Just last year Britain’s own Steve McQueen became only the second (behind Spike Lee for ‘Do the Right Thing’) and third (behind John Singleton for Boyz n the Hood and Lee Daniels for Precious) black person to be nominated for best director at the Golden Globes and Oscars respectively.

‘Selma’s’ awards love goes beyond just the director as Britain’s David Oyelowo nabbed a best actor nom for his lead performance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and looks like a dead cert for BAFTA nom and possibly and Oscar nom too.

The awards bodies have certainly shown their more progressive side lately and it seems fitting that a film with ‘Selma’s’ subject matter be source of a real milestone for black people in the film industry.

-Dylan Wiggan


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