‘Selma’ Is Available To Stream For Free, And The Film’s Star Is Revealing Why Some Oscar Voters Rejected It

Selma, Ava DuVernay’s historical-drama about the Selma to Montgomery marches to equal voting rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was one of the best reviewed films of 2014, but it was only nominated for two Oscars. True, one of them was Best Picture (which it lost to, ugh, Birdman), but David Oyelowo failing to pick up a nomination for his performance as MLK is still shocking. The actor believes he knows why that is, though.

Selma was released into theaters a few months after Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, was put into a chokehold by a member of the New York Police Department and died. “That was the last time we were in a place of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts in protest,” Oyelowo told ScreenDaily. “Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring s-h-i-t?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.’ It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite. They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.” DuVernay agrees with Oyelowo, tweeting, “True Story.”

DuVernay also shared on social media that Selma is now available on all digital platforms for free. “Paramount Pictures is offering SELMA for free rental on all US digital platforms for June, starting today,” she tweeted. “We’ve gotta understand where we’ve been to strategize where we’re going. History helps us create the blueprint. Onward.”