It was the snub heard around the world when Selma director Ava DuVernay didn’t make the cut for Best Director in this year’s polarizing Oscar nominations. Though she was widely considered a lock for the category, a nomination in which would have made her the first African-American woman to receive a Best Director nod, Selma was widely spurned by voters, with star David Oyelowo also losing out.
Luckily, the pair don’t appear too devastated by the upset – Deadline reports that they’re already planning to reteam on another ambitious project, this one a narrative feature described as a sweeping love story and a murder mystery set during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. DuVernay will write, direct and produce the pic, while Oyelowo will produce and star.
DuVernay’s every move is being watched carefully at the moment, seeing as she’s the highest-profile director to be both black and female (though Oscar snubbed her, she recently became the first black woman to earn a Golden Globe nom for Best Director). Despite the presence on the scene of directors like Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights), Amma Asante (Belle) and Kasi Lemmons (Black Nativity), none of them have ever come close to possessing DuVernay’s current star power.
The director recently told Entertainment Weekly, with regard to moving forward from Selma and maintaining that film’s momentum, that “I’ve never been in this before… There is no precedent for it and there is no black woman I can call and ask… I’m trying to be clear and follow my own footsteps because there is no black woman’s footsteps to follow.”
Tackling a project as apparently massive as a Hurricane Katrina love story/murder mystery seems both daunting and wholly appropriate for a director of DuVernay’s talents and an actor of Oyelowo’s caliber. It’s exciting to hear that the pair will take another shot at awards attention with this new project and hopefully deliver another rousing, thoughtful film about race in America.