Monday, January 19, 2015

Food for thought on MLK day

The Academy Award nominations were announced last Thursday and I couldn't help but notice that the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, Selma, didn't get more Oscar nods.

Only two nominations (for best picture and best song)? 

I read this level-headed piece by David Carr of The New York Times and I couldn't agree more. "Many would say that it should suffice that '12 Years a Slave,' a film by a black director about black history, won best picture last year, and 'Selma' was nominated this year, and that any grievance is a conjured one. I disagree," Carr writes in Sunday's Media Equation column.

"Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and given the context, it is an interesting moment to ask whether it really matters that the Motion Picture academy failed to nominate the black director and the black lead actor of 'Selma[.]'... But yes, it still matters."

Consider Ava DuVernay, Selma's director. She is a black woman who found the studio backing to make, in Carr's words, "great cinema, not a history lesson." And British actor David Oyelowo (who gave a flawless performance in my opinion), playing a "heroic black figure in the American narrative -- not the victim of white oppression, but the corrective to it."

This is what I love about film. The opportunity to put myself in the shoes of others. To walk their journeys, if just for a few hours, and expand my perspective on love, life, power, injustice, courage, hope, humanity and so much more. 

Food for thought this Martin Luther King Jr. day. 

The director gap. (The New York Times)