Channeling history has become immensely popular among the films this season. The range of films this season sparked a lot of buzz, channeling major figures in history. They range anywhere from a biopic of a famous scientist or following a long walk in the wild. Selma tackles a different area of history, focusing on a semi biopic of Martin Luther King Jr., and the events that took place in the south during the 1960’s. The film did its justice to create a raw energy and enough buzz to keep the conversation going.
The film started off with a bang, literary. In the first few minutes the audience was able to understand what life was like during the 1960’s in the south. A few innocent children were talking in a church when a bomb was set off and killed them. A senseless act of destruction. Martin Luther King Jr. was going to change that. Selma followed King on his journey to change the voting laws in the south.
We first joined King when he was trying to figure out what to do with all of this unrest in the south. He had assembled a team and understood the needs to legalize voting rights for all citizens, regardless of skin color. In order to do this, King and his team organized a plan to march from Selma to Montgomery. King wanted the whole march to be non-violent and friendly. Unfortunately, the authorities in Alabama were not on the same page.
During the planning of the march, smaller protests were held. Some were more successful than others. Either way, they were still grabbing the attention to make their cause newsworthy. King held several meetings with President Johnson in order to get national attention on the issue. LBJ did not think this was an issue that needed to be tackled right away. He wanted to push it to the side and move on. He was portrayed as struggling to see eye to eye with King. However, King ended up getting his way. The march was powerful and created a story to be told for years on end.
Selma has created a lot of buzz in the past few weeks. The biggest story in the news was the lack of awards and nominations for this film. Selma was nominated for two Oscars. It picked up a nomination for Best Original Song and Best Picture.
Now in my opinion, two nominations are better than nothing. I understand the unrest about the best picture and being snubbed for best director. It would have been incredible if Ava DuVernay had received a nomination, being both a woman and a woman of color. If they are going to allow more than five films to be nominated for best picture, they should extend the number of nominees for directing as well.
The next big snub was David Oyelowo not being nominated for Best Actor. This one I am not sure I agree with. I think he did an outstanding job capturing the raw emotion as King, yet there were other performances that simply out did him. I thought Redmayne, Cumberbatch, and Keaton held up stronger performances than Oyelowo. Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper had a more transitive performance. While Oyelowo still played King spot on, the others simply out did him. If they had more room for nomination, he would have filled up that spot immediately.
Putting all of the drama aside, Selma is a must see this season. It sheds a light on a part of American history that many are trying to hide. It has an important message to be shared and tells an incredible story. The performances are extraordinary within itself. Go see Selma!