AceShowbiz - Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) objected to the cast of "Selma" 's police brutality protest at the film's premiere, which resulted in it being snubbed at the 2015 Oscars, actor David Oyelowo has shared.
Oyelowo starred as civil rights icon Martin Luther King in the 2014 film, directed by Ava DuVernay, which tells the story of the historic 1965 marches by civil-rights advocates during which they were clubbed and tear-gassed by state troopers.
Speaking during the latest edition of Screen's Screen Talks live Q&A series, the British actor recalled how he and his castmates' tribute to Eric Garner, an African-American man who died after a New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest, subsequently upset Academy members, who decide on the Oscar nominations.
"Six years ago," he said, "Selma coincided with Eric Garner being murdered. That was the last time we were in a place of 'I Can't Breathe.' "
"I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing 'I Can't Breathe' T-shirts in protest. Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, 'How dare they do that? Why are they stirring S-*-*-T?' and 'We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.' "
Selma did pick up nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song, with John Legend and Common taking home the latter prize, but no black actors were among the 20 nominees for acting prizes that year.
"It's part of why that film didn't get everything that people think it should've got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite," continued Oyelowo. "They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world."
DuVernay backed Oyelowo's claims, tweeting in response, "True story." And on Friday, June 5, 2020 the Academy replied to DuVernay, writing, "Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress."