Best Picture Nominees — Selma
The Academy Awards are almost here, so it's time to look at this year's Best Picture nominees. Today's nominee is a great film that was somehow overlooked by the Academy.
Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Original Song ("Glory")
About: "Selma" is a fierce biopic about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his work in Selma, Alabama, leading up to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The film chronicles a thin slice of his life and work, but it is powerful. It's a beautifully told story, and an important story given our current cultural climate. But somehow it's gotten lost in a petty dispute. Much of the dispute centered on the way President Lyndon Johnson was characterized in the film. Some claimed that it made him appear as if he didn't really care that much about Civil Rights — a hallmark of his Presidency. I didn't think that was true, but regardless that seems to have hurt the film's Oscar chances. It did get a Best Picture nomination, but star David Oyelowo was passed over for a deserved Best Actor nomination and Director Ava DuVernay was similarly snubbed. The movie is seen as possibly the longest of long shots to win Best Picture, which is a shame. Political quibbles aside, it is a powerful story, and Oyelowo is fantastic as Dr. King. It's a shame he and the film aren't being recognized as they should because of the dispute over the way the story is told. But there is Oscar hope. I feel like the film is a front-runner in the original song category, with "Glory" — from John Legend and Common — winning at the Golden Globes. It's a timely and well-crafted anthem, and in a year without consensus and popular songs being nominated, it should get the win. So at least "Selma" might not go home empty handed.
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language.
Verdict: Four stars out of four
"Selma" is now playing nationwide.