Academy Awards Snubs “Selma”

The 87th annual Academy Awards have continued the trend of white male dominance in the film arts.

Some big name directors and actors have ended up on the nomination list this year, along with some newbies.

One newcomer to the coveted list of cinema is “Selma” director Ava DuVernay. Earlier this season, DuVernay became the first black woman to receive a Golden Globes director nomination.

For the Oscars however, “Selma” is the best picture nominee with the fewest amount of overall nominations (only receiving two), and DuVernay was overlooked for a best director nomination.

With events like the Ferguson protests, civil unrest and race tension has been a growing relevance this past year. For the movie industry, a film with a message like “Selma” seems to be an impactful piece that could have thrived in terms of nomination nods.

However, the best director and best picture categories continue to remain an exclusive club for the male population.

This is the first time in nearly twenty years that all the actors nominated for Oscars are white.

In 2012, the Los Angeles Times did a study on the statistics of the Academy and found that nearly 94 percent of its members are Caucasian.

One would think that in creative fields like performing and film arts, that change would be evident over the years. However, it seems like the dominant majority remains stagnant.

Why is it important that DuVernay got snubbed for best director? Because it highlights the lack of diversity and change in an ever-evolving field.

The film industry has progressed over the last century in numerous lights, but according to the Academy, nothing has changed in regards to who makes up the best of the film industry.

“Selma” follows the story of Martin Luther King Jr. and his determination for African American civil rights.

David Oyelowo filled big shoes in his role as Martin Luther King Jr. and brought a heaviness to this portrayal in scenes that involved his wife and friends. However, Oyelowo will be empty handed at the Award show this year, because he also did not receive a best actor nomination for his role.

Thanks to social media, an overwhelming public response to the Oscar nominations has been voiced on various platforms. Twitter exploded with criticism and reviews, and articles have been covering different angles about the “Selma” snubbing.

In one article published by, responses from Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences were addressed.

Boone Isaacs spoke with the Associated Press about the “Selma” controversy and mentioned the nomination for best picture.

“It’s an award that showcases the talent of everyone involved in the production of the movie ‘Selma’.”

The article also provides quotes from Boone Isaacs about her hopes to see greater cultural diversity throughout all the categories in the future.

Unfortunately, that diverse future seems further away than necessary with this year’s nominations.

Hopefully, the amount of criticism that the Academy has received in regards to the nominations will inspire an openness to diversity in years to come.