MLK Biopic “Selma” Receiving Critical Acclaim

Photo courtesy of Trice Edney News Wire
The movie “Selma”

Special to the Outlook from Trice Edney News Wire

The civil rights drama “Selma” has been named the top film of the year by the African-American Film Crit­ics Association (AAFCA), and also leads NAACP Im­age Awards nominations with eight.

The Paramount film, which is the first studio pro­duction to center around the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., not only earned top hon­ors among the Black critics, but also received nods for Best Director (Ava DuVer­nay), Best Actor (Davis Oy­elowo) and Best Song (John Legend’s and Common’s theme song, “Glory,”) the film critics association an­nounced this week.

A mix of Hollywood vet­erans and fledglings were recognized in the other cat­egories.

Best actress went to Gugu Mbatha-Raw for her lead role in “Belle,” a period dra­ma in which the illegitimate, bi-racial daughter of a Brit­ish admiral plays a pivotal role in abolishing slavery in England. Octavia Spencer, of “The Help” fame, won best supporting actress for her role in “Black and White,” a story of a bitter custody battle. Tyler Perry and J.K. Simmons shared best sup­porting actor honors—Perry won for his role as an attor­ney in “Gone Girl” and Sim­mons for his portrayal overly exuberant music instructor in “Whiplash.”

“Dear White People” won best independent film and cast member Tessa Thomp­son earned the nod for best breakout performance with her part as a college student activist. Top screenplay honors went to Gina Prince-Bythewood for “Beyond the Lights” and best ensemble went to the James Brown biopic “Get On Up.” Best documentary went to “Life Itself,” about the career of critic Roger Ebert, and best world cinema honors went to “Timbuktu,” a political dra­ma about Islamic militants briefly occupying Timbuktu, according to USA Today.

“Our members found the output of cinema released this year to be a truly in­sightful mix of titles that reflect the world we live in,” AAFCA president Gil Rob­ertson said in a statement. “The members of AAFCA were especially pleased with this range of storytell­ing supported by the studios that gave voice to the many sides of the experience of Black people in America and around the world. We had a lot to pick from this year from ‘Belle,’ ‘Dear White People,’ ‘Top Five,’ ‘Tim­buktu’ and ‘Selma’ and hope the industry will continue to provide a platform for diver­sity on the big screen.”

The AAFCA will hold its annual award ceremony on Feb. 4 at the Taglyan Com­plex in Hollywood.

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