We’re still not quite over the fact that David Oyelowo was snubbed from a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in Ava DuVernay’s Selma (Why, Academy, why?). But the British actor has bigger fish to fry.
During yesterday’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Oyelowo voiced his disappointment toward the selection of Black roles and Black movies in Hollywood, criticizing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for telling Black narratives through the eyes of “White guilt.”
“We, as Black people, have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being at the center of our own narrative,” he said to the crowd.
He points to Selma and the nearly 50 years that it took for a film to be made where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the focus of his own story. Oyelowo credits Selma‘s production to the success of recent Black films, such as The Butler and 12 Years a Slave, where the stories were told through the eyes of Black people rather than through “a very nice White person who hold Black people’s hands through their own narrative.” Nonetheless, he graciously thanked Paramount Pictures for perpetuating the much-needed market.
“We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things,” he said. “But we have been leaders, we have been kings, we have been those who changed the world.”
Do you agree with David?