After racially-charged unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, made headlines this summer, there’s no denying that civil rights biopic Selma is going to strike a chord with many when it releases this winter. Starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as his wife Carmen Scott, the Ava DuVernay-directed pic centers on the influential march from Selma to Montgomery, which paved the way for the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Tom Wilkinson, Andre Holland, Omar J. Dorsey, Tessa Thompson, Tim Roth, Wendell Pierce and Colman Domingo all co-star.
Whether the inspiring, resonant story at the heart of Selma will make it an Oscar contender remains to be seen. The latter half of 2014 will be filled with similarly high-profile biopics, many of which are already earning awards buzz. In the coming months, Tim Burton will unveil Big Eyes, about Margaret Keane and her husband Walter; Angelina Jolie’s WWII pic Unbroken will tell the story of prisoner-of-war survivor Louis Zamperini; Jeremy Renner plays embattled journalist Gary Webb in Kill the Messenger; Clint Eastwood is set to present American Sniper, about Navy SEAL Chris Kyle; and Reese Witherspoon will take on the part of Cheryl Strayed in Wild. It’s a crowded season for biopics.
What might make Selma rise above the rest? As previously mentioned, civil rights has been very much at the forefront of national politics lately. Additionally, Selma arrives on the heels of 12 Years a Slave, which won Best Picture last year, indicating that the Academy is keen to honor films that chart our nation’s dark history and small steps towards equal rights. Then again, Lee Daniels’ The Butler also opened in 2013, to very little fanfare and no Oscar attention.
Selma may fall somewhere between the two – drawing attention, perhaps for its script and Oyelowo’s performance, but not dominating the awards circuit in any sense. Of course, this is all speculation. We won’t know whether Selma stands, or even deserves, a chance at awards consideration until it opens in limited release on December 25th before expanding on January 9th.
Source: The Playlist