Belfast Telegraph

Selma star shrugs off Bafta snub

David Oyelowo shrugged off his snub by Bafta at the premiere of his new film Selma tonight.

The 38-year-old British actor plays Martin Luther King Jr in the film which charts the American Civil Rights leader's three month campaign in Selma, Alabama in 1965 to persuade President Lyndon B Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act, protecting African-Americans' right to vote. This culminated in the now historic march from Selma to Montgomery, and this year marks its 50th anniversary.

Oyelowo was joined on the red carpet at the Curzon Mayfair in London by co-stars Tom Wilkinson, who plays President Johnson, Colman Domingo, who plays Civil Rights leader Ralph Abernathy, and director Ava DuVernay.

The film has been highly recieved by critics, but was overlooked in this year's Bafta nominations and only earned two Oscar nods, for Best Picture and Best Original Song

Asked how he felt about the lack of recognition, Oyelowo said: "You're going to have to ask Bafta about that. I don't know, it would have been nice.

"But the fact of the matter is the film is really resonating with audiences. It's great to be back here in the UK premiering the film.

"I did my bit."

Wilkinson hailed his co-star's performance and dismissed the lack of award nominations as a lottery.

He said: "I don't know how these people make their minds up about which film they're going to nominate. We've all seen stuff in the past and you think, 'That's crazy!' or, 'Why didn't that person win. Or get a nomination?' It happens all the time.

"It's a lottery. There's not a lot you can do about it."

Ms DuVernay - who boarded the project at Oyelowo's request and is to work with him on her next project - said the film academy had made a mistake in not acknowledging his performance.

She said: "Bafta - I think they made a mistake. With David not being there, I really do. It's a shame.

"He's one of the brightest stars to come out of Britain of any colour. But particularly around this performance, that's so transformative, so important, so immersive. I'd have liked to have seen him get that.

"But I know for him, and for me, we don't make these films for awards. We make these films to stay in the culture and move around the world and change people's minds and open their heart. And he's done that, so he's already won."

Selma also stars Oprah Winfrey and was produced by Brad Pitt.

The film opens in cinemas in the UK on Friday February 6 2015.


From Belfast Telegraph