Oscar Voter on Selma : 'There Was No Art to It'


Oscar Voter on Selma : 'There Was No Art to It'

Academy member reveals why Ava DuVernay was snubbed.

Published February 19, 2015

A lot of noise has been made about the whitewashed Oscar nominations this year, and Selma's snubs in the Best Director and Best Actor categories, and now, for the first time, an Academy voter has spoken out about why the film was overlooked. Speaking on the condition of anonymity to the Hollywood Reporter, the voter says Selma didn't deserve a Best Director nod because "there's no art to it."

"First, let me say that I'm tired of all of this talk about 'snubs'," the voter began. "What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there's no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don't think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were." 


The industry insider continues, "And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance — they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they're not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies. When a movie about Black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn't that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has Black people in it?" 

But the merits of the film don't seem to be the only thing keeping this particular voter from casting a ballot for Selma. "I've got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying 'I can't breathe' [at their New York premiere] — I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up shit?"

Though the voter says, in essence, recognizing Selma director Ava DuVernay would be akin to tokenism — a bad thing — he or she has no problem with the Academy handing out a token nomination to Clint Eastwood. "It is literally the answer to a prayer for a midrange budget movie directed by an 84-year-old guy [Clint Eastwood] to do this kind of business. It shows that a movie can galvanize America and shows that people will go if you put something out that they want to see," the voter says.

Though the industry professional revealed he or she would be voting for The Imitation Game for Best Picture, a vote for the film's director Morten Tyldum is off the table because "I wouldn't know him if I walked into him." 

The insights reveal that this voter, like many others, don't always vote based on a film's merits, but on personal biases and affiliations. Sadly, for the mostly-white Academy, that left Selma out in the dust.

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(Photo: Atsushi Nishijima/ Paramount Pictures)

Written by Evelyn Diaz


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