Here Are Some Possible Reasons Why Selma Keeps Getting Snubbed

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tags: LBJ, MLK, Selma

The Directors Guild’s list of nominees for top honors this year included some of the usual suspects — favorites this award season including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman and Boyhood. But one film was conspicuously absent. Despite nearly universal praise from critics (including TIME’s Richard Corliss) and nominations from the Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes, the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma and its director Ava DuVernay seem to have been snubbed again.

The Screen Actors Guild, which released its nominees last month, left Selma out of every category. A week ago, the Producers Guild of America struck another blow to the historical drama’s Oscar hopes when Selma failed to make the cut of its 10-film list. Given that the winners of the three guild awards are often seen as good predictors of who will win at the Academy Awards, it begs the question—what, exactly, is going on?

Some observers have pointed to racism or sexism affecting the decision, claims that can’t be altogether discounted. A nomination for DuVernay would have made her the only woman on the all-male list of nominees, and The Celluloid Ceiling, an annual report on women working behind the camera in cinema, shows an alarming gender disparity in the industry that has not improved since the study began in 1998.

Some, like Peniel Joseph, a history professor at Tufts University, have argued that the recent backlash against the film for its supposed misrepresentation of Lyndon Johnson is an attempt by white viewers to maintain control over the Civil Rights narrative. “The real problem many critics have with this film is that it’s too black and too strong,” he writes in an op-ed for NPR. “Our popular reimagining of the civil rights movement is that it’s something we all did together and the battle is over; that’s just not true.”

Read entire article at Time

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