Selma star David Oyelowo has revealed Oscars members refused to vote for the film after the cast wore “I can’t breathe” t-shirts in protest against police violence.
There were mass protests in 2014 after Eric Garner died when cops put him in a choke hold, and a shocking video emerged of him telling them he “couldn’t breathe” as he was being held him on the pavement.
Selma won Best Original Song at the 2015 awards and was also nominated for Best Picture.
The Selma cast attended the ceremony in t-shirts with the words ‘I can’t breath’ emblazoned across them in support of Garner, who is believed to have suffered a heart attack in police custody.
Now star David, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie, has alleged that Oscars members accused the cast of ‘stirring s**t’ for wearing the t-shirts and refused to vote for the film after receiving complaints.
Speaking to Screen International , David who featured in the BBC adaption of Les Miserables in 2018, said: “I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing ‘I can’t breathe’ t-shirts in protest. Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring s**t’? and, ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.'”
He added the protest is “part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite “.
David also called on the Baftas to re-identify itself in a different mould to the Oscars and the normal movie awards season. He said: “What Bafta needs to do is to not be so closely tied to the Oscars. It needs to happen at a different date.”
Fellow Selma cast member Ava DuVernay appears to agree with David’s views as she shared the Screen International story and wrote, “True story”.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which promotes filmaking, hit out at the Oscars in a tweet after David made the allegations.
It said: “Ava & David, we hear you. Unacceptable. We’re committed to progress.”
The Oscars have received criticism in recent years over the lack of diversity of its nominees. Speaking about the issue in 2015 Oyelowo said: “The Academy has a problem.”
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