The big day is almost here, as nominations for the 2015 Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow morning (January 15). Stars and industry insiders will eagerly await the list, rooting for their respective horses. There's one contender's name, however, that we're worried we won't hear often enough: "Selma."
The new film (produced by Paramount, which shares a corporate parent with MTV News) struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. The chronicle -- focusing on the push for reform of and access to voter registration for all, led by Martin Luther King Jr. and headquartered in Selma, Alabama -- has a 99 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes with critics, a rare feat. Though the events depicted take place around a half century ago, the struggles depicted in the film still ring true, especially given today's headlines.
However, it seems alarmingly possible that "Selma" will walk away from the Oscar nominations announcement empty-handed, or close to it. After all, at the Golden Globes just last weekend, the film got only one win (Best Original Song, for which artist Common, who also appears in the film, delivered a touching acceptance speech), and its nominations for Best Picture - Drama, Best Director and Best Actor - Drama, went unwon. Even further, director Ava DuVernay didn't receive a nod from the Directors Guild of America for their annual fete.
Now's the time for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to step up. Here are some of the topline categories we think "Selma" deserves a nod for.
It's arguably the most talked-about, best-reviewed movie of the year. It's a beautifully shot, skillfully acted film that will stand the test of time, but is also exciting and current to this particular moment. What other contenders can say that?
Keep in mind how current "Selma" feels, then think about the fact that the movie wrapped filming before the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case was even announced. That's due to DuVernay's strong, clear direction, keeping the film current before there was even a news story for it to resonate with. Besides the point, a nomination for DuVernay would make Academy history: only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director, none of them black. (The only woman who has advanced beyond the nomination to win is Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for "The Hurt Locker.")
David Oyelowo is Martin Luther King Jr. The actor, who said that God told him to play the part, totally disappeared into the role of the Civil Rights leader, absorbing both his good (charismatic, strategic, compassionate leader) and bad (cheating husband) characteristics. To ignore Oyelowo's performance would be unthinkable.
Take a look at this movie and tell us that it doesn't deserve a sparkling gold statue for its cinematography. Just try it.
Best SongParamount Pictures
It's already got the Golden Globe, and the track by Common and John Legend perfectly captures the current/timeless dichotomy of the film. Let's give it the big award, too.
What categories do you want to see "Selma" nominated in? Let us know in the comments below!