Paramount

Here's What You Should Know About 'Selma,' The Movie That'll Probably Win Best Picture

This isn't your ordinary biopic.

You'll be hearing a lot more about "Selma," Ava DuVernay's film detailing Martin Luther King Jr.'s protests and civil actions in an attempt to secure and reform the right for all to vote, when it comes out on Christmas Day. You'll be hearing even more about it from your friends who are particularly into the Oscars.

The film is deservedly at the forefront of many movie lovers' minds when it comes to taking the top prize in movies this year. It's also more timely than ever, given current events.

Here's what you should know before you see "Selma."

  1. It's timely.

    There's no ignoring the parallels between the events of "Selma" and the recent unrest following the grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases. If you've been keeping up with the headlines, there's no way you won't be moved by the similarities.

  2. Oprah has a tough time.

    Any time Oprah is on screen, it's an omen of doom. Spoiler alert: guess who's the first person we see denied voter registration? If you guessed Oprah, you're right. Guess who gets thrown around in a protest? Oprah again! Times are hard for The O in "Selma," but she turns in a moving, understated performance.

  3. David Oyelowo totally embodies MLK.

    Martin Luther King Jr. hasn't been the main character in a feature film in the nearly 50 years since he led the Civil Rights movement, let alone portrayed so accurately. Oyelowo has gravitas and humanity, and the script doesn't ignore King's very human flaws (infidelity, much?) either.

  4. No story is too small.

    "Selma" shines in part because it keeps a tight focus on the arc of King's actions in Selma, Alabama. It doesn't try to stuff an entire life into a two-hour movie like so many other biopics that skim the surface. A huge benefit of this is the room for detail, which director Ava DuVernay takes advantage of. For example, the woman in the image above has no lines in the movie, but her tragic story is still included in the film, rather than leaving her as a nameless extra.

  5. It's really, really gorgeous.

    It just looks great. You'll almost be distracted from the horrible atrocities being committed on-screen by how beautifully it's shot.

"Selma" hits theaters December 25.