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Academy Snubbed ‘Selma’ Because Cast Wore I Can’t Breathe Shirts

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Oscars Snubbed Selma After Cast Wore I Can't Breathe Shirts

David Oyelowo is calling out The Academy for their racist ways. The very vocal British born actor revealed in a new interview that Oscar voters snubbed Selma after the cast and crew protested against police brutality.

Oyelowo, who portrayed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 film, told Screen Daily the cast decided to wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts to the film’s New York premiere following the death of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, two unarmed black men who were killed by police officers.

David Oyelowo Tells All

“Six years ago, Selma coincided with Eric Garner being murdered. That was the last time we were in a place of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in protest,” Oyelowo said.

“Members of the Academy called in to the studio and [said to] our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring s—?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.’ ”

“It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite,” he continued. “They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”

RELATED: Twitter Sounds Off On the Academy & #OscarsSoWhite

No Oscar Love For Selma

Selma received two Academy Award nominations in 2015, one for Best Picture and one for Best Original Song. Both Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay, who would have become the first black woman nominated in the Best Director category, were snubbed. That year, all 20 acting nominees were white.

DuVernay was quick to back up Oyelowo’s account of what happened. “True story,” she wrote on Twitter, alongside a link to the interview.

Hours later, the Academy responded, saying that the actions of some of its members was “unacceptable.”

“Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress,” they wrote in a statement shared on social media.

The Academy’s Problematic History

To be clear The Academy has  long been criticized over their lack of diversity among its nominees and their voting body. In 2015 Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced they would be diversifying their members after the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag took over social media.

The following year Twitter resurrected the hashtag after Straight Outta Compton, Creed, Beast of No Nation and Concussion were all snubbed. This year the Academy not only overlooked Black talent, but talent from various groups causing folks on Twitter to sounding off.

Lets hope they have finally learned from their mistakes.

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