My Favorite Moments in the 2014 Best Picture Nominees: Selma
Our next Best Picture nominee is Selma.
Here’s how Oscar season works: from mid-December until mid-January, I go over what will and what won’t be nominated. Opinions are formed. It can get heated. Then they announce the nominations, and from then until Oscar night, it’s all about what’s going to win. And more opinions are formed. The problem is that nowhere during this do we actually stop and appreciate the films. They’re always seen through the lens of competition.
So what I do every year is, after all the analysis is done, and all the opinions are dealt with, I stop, take a minute, throw it all away, and just stop to appreciate the movies. I watch all the nominees again, and I pick my favorite moments (or elements) from each of them. The ultimate goal being to remind everyone that once you take away all the competition, the awards, arbitrary decisions of what film is better, what we’re left with is great cinema. And that’s what it’s all about.
Here are my favorite moments from Selma:
I’m totally copping out, I know. But this song is actually one of my favorite parts of the movie. So I put it at #5, since it happens during the credits. But this song is amazing. It’ll be truly disappointing if this doesn’t win Best Original Song tomorrow night.
4. This moment
Because it’s just so amazingly representative of how white people work. Sitting in their homes, unaware of all of the major political and civil rights issues. And any time it shows up in the papers or in conversation, they don’t take it seriously, or pay it lip service without really intending to do anything. But then, show them something on TV, give it to them in that way, and that’s when they act all righteous. “Oh my god, look at how horrible that is. We have to do something.” And then they get involved and feel like they were the ones that affected change. Hilarious. This is white people in a nutshell. This kind of shit is hilarious to me.
3. The protests
I love people sticking it to the Man.
Nothing more to say.
Fuck the man.
2. Her catching him cheating.
Because that was my one concern with this movie. Oliver Stone was trying to make this movie for years. Not this movie, but a King biopic. And I thought he would be the one to do it, by capturing all the great stuff that made him who we remember him as, but also the other stuff that doesn’t get talked about that makes him a human being. And the estate of course wanted nothing to do with that, and wouldn’t grant him the rights, and finally he had to give it up. So my concern was that any film about him wasn’t going to show that side. So I was happy to see this moment in the film. Of course, it isn’t dwelled upon, but to at least show a blemish on someone whose image is so cultivated to the point of attempting sainthood — I appreciated that.
1. The speeches.
If you’re gonna make a movie about Martin Luther King, this better be the best part of the film. Technically I’m saying Oyelowo’s performance is my favorite part, but it’s more the speeches that I was a fan of. That particular part of the performance. Because this man was one of the great speakers of all time. There was supposed to be a picture of him speaking here, but I guess I picked the wrong one. Oh well. Either way, Oyelowo does a terrific job with the speeches, and any problems I had with this movie completely disappeared when he started making speeches. Honestly, give me two hours of Martin Luther King speaking, and that’s a perfect movie.