Every year, when the Oscar nominations come out, there is a Snub List that comes out right after. It's where respected critics release the list of films and people that have been shamefully overlooked by the Academy for nominations. Usually these lists are wildly different since it's so dependent on opinion and what they liked and didn't like throughout the year. This is one of the few years that I can think of where every single Snub List that I saw had the same two names at the top of it; Ava Duernay and David Oyelowo - the director and star of Selma. There have even been cries of racism lobbed at the Academy for overlooking these two. Now, I'm not one to casually toss around the "r-word" but for the life of me I can't think of a single reason why these two were left off the nominee roster, sooooooo...
Selma is about the historical march that Martin Luther King Jr. led to protest voter inequality in the state of Alabama but really the entire country. It shows how the march was planned, who helped him plan it, the struggles he went through with President Johnson and his wife, as well the dangers he and his followers faced for doing it. To call the movie profound is an understatement. It is one of the finest pieces of cinema about the civil rights movement ever made and it is incredibly moving. There are several layers to human beings crying and Selma makes you go through all of them from the lip quiver to the full blown sob.
Most people don't know Oyelowo yet but he's been in films like The Butler, Interstellar, Jack Reacher and Lincoln but Selma is the film that is his crowing achievement. His portrayal of King is inspired and true aided by a stellar script that shows King as a flawed man who, despite feeling the sting of every beating and death in his marrow, still struggled to be a good husband and saw his followers as players in a bigger game of chess for the greater good despite the dangers it put them in. All of the heroes in the film are shown without sugarcoating history. Oyelowo is the star but everyone in the cast gives amazing performances.
There are times when Selma feels heavy-handed and flirts with being cliche but those moments are few and greatly overshadowed by its might. DuVernay has a keen eye for telling a complex story in ways that make it mass appeal and inclusive. This is her first feature film and it's obvious that she's in for a very long career. Female directors are rare in Hollywood. Black female directors are almost non-existent. Black female directors that tackle complex historical dramas are as common as Bigfoot and for her to hit a home run with Selma makes it even that much more of a tragedy that she was ignored by the Academy.
It's interesting that American Sniper, a film that isn't great but breaking box office records, is up against Selma for Best Picture (although neither will win). They're both dramatic depictions of history of America when she was at some of her worst moments. American Sniper had a goal to make you feel proud to be an American by showing a war hero without addressing the darkness that put him in that position. Selma didn't have a patriotic goal and is about a civil hero that tackles the darkness head-on and deals directly with the politics. Despite Selma being about a truly shameful time in our story (that was only 50 years ago mind you!), it filled me with more patriotism than American Sniper did because it shows some of us at our worst, some of us at our best and how much we can overcome as a country. How do you not feel proud of that?
Very excited to be able to talk with the ladies of Fifth Harmony today (well, at least 3 of them)! We chat about their new album Reflections coming out in February, their headlining tour starting next month also, and about when we can finally get them to Sactown! I also asked a few questions I got via Twitter from Harmonizers around the world. Hope you enjoy the interview :)
Idina Menzel - better known to John Travolta as Adele Dazeem - will be taking a week off from her Broadway play, "If/Then."
And the play will shut down while she's gone.
So she can prepare for her appearance at the Super Bowl to sing the National Anthem.
She's probably not taking any chances, especially after she caught all sorts of flack for not being able to hit a high note during a live performance on New Year's Eve while singing her hit song from Frozen, "Let It Go."
So rest, relax, warm up, and practice those high notes, Adele!