January 29, 2015


I really enjoyed this interview with Selma director Ava DuVernay. I did not understand the hoopla about how the Oscars are so white this year. As Ava jokes here, maybe Selma wasn't any good and didn't deserve an award. Why do people get so crazy over an Oscar panel of mostly old white guys picking movies like American Sniper? Why do you need a panel to tell you what's good if you have your own brain? And if you're so upset over what you feel is an obvious Oscar snub, then maybe you should rethink the importance of the Oscars on the year they don't pick what you like. And focus, as the charming and articulate DuVernay says, on how the voting rights won as a result of Selma are now being challenged with voter ID laws which make it harder for people of color to vote? Why have we taken a step backward towards injustice from the hard-won gains in Selma decades ago?

DuVernay: "I mean, this, when we get to the statues and patting each other on the back, isn’t as important as the fact that the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act is violent and ongoing and very much an emergency. So, in working with Selma and thinking about Selma and thinking about all of the—what it represents, even now, with policing and police aggression in our communities, I just can’t get worked up about the other thing."

And why, she asks, do we not have more movies being made to reflect different types of people? As NY Times reporter Frank Bruni said on MSNBC, you can't nominate films which haven't even been made. Another MSNBC pundit claimed that Hollywood isn't as liberal as they are painted to be and that it took Bridesmaids for Hollywood to notice that women like to laugh. It seems like this arguing with the umpire over who gets nominated in which category is validating a bunch of old white men's tastes which doesn't represent a lot of us. And for those who simply can't ignore the out-of-touch Oscars, Selma did get nominations for best picture and song.

This is part 1 of a 3 part interview with Democracynow.org. I enjoyed all three.