Obama hosts screening of the acclaimed civil rights drama 'Selma' after Oscar snub

Ava DuVernay and British actor David Oyelowo were left out of nominations for their respective categories

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The Independent US

A day after its director and star were “snubbed” by the Academy, Selma is being honoured by somewhat a higher authority. President Obama is due to host a screening of the acclaimed civil rights drama at the White House this evening.

Selma was shortlisted for Best Picture in yesterday’s Oscar nominations, but its director Ava DuVernay and British actor David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King in the film, were left out of their respective categories. Many commentators took the all-white shortlists for the four acting prizes as a sign of Hollywood and the Academy’s continued lack of diversity.

DuVernay and Oyelowo are both expected to attend the screening in Washington DC tonight. Also on the guest list are Selma producer Oprah Winfrey and hip-hop artist Common, who is Oscar-nominated for the film’s theme song, “Glory”. The Grammy-winning rapper first visited the White House in 2011, to perform to schoolchildren at a poetry event organised by Michelle Obama.


Joining the filmmakers at the screening will be Democrat congressman John Lewis, who was among those who marched in Selma with Dr King in 1965. The screening was planned before the Oscar nominations, to coincide with Martin Luther King Day, which falls next Monday, 19 January.

Last year, the Obamas hosted a screening of the Nelson Mandela biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Other recent Oscar contenders including Lincoln and Beasts of the Southern Wild have also received White House screenings.

Selma is not unanimously acclaimed in political circles, however. In a Washington Post opinion piece published on Boxing Day, Joseph Califano, a former aide to President Lyndon B Johnson, complained that the late president had been grievously misrepresented by the film, which he suggested ought to be “ruled out” at awards season.