Last night I reflected on the movie #Selma, which I saw yesterday in downtown Washington, DC. One thing to note was the fact that two police cars were parked outside the theater on Connecticut Avenue and remained at the curb throughout the afternoon matinees. I wonder what the police were concerned might happen at the theater on Dr. King's holiday?
From the very first wide shot at the Nobel Peace Awards in Oslo as the film opens, Dr. King's presence is felt viscerally. I pondered why it was that the Academy neglected to nominate this picture for Best Director, Best Actor, or Best Cinemtography, all categories worthy of nominations in my estimation. For the record, the Academy's membership is 77% white men whose average age is 63 years old.
What came to me was the notion that it is very difficult for men to support a film in which the underlying message is that injustice and dehumanizing acts of violence have been and continue to be enacted on black people mainly by white men. So even though the film is excellent, it takes a rare individual to step out of his or her self identification, and not feel personally wounded by being the object of contempt or ridicule. Deep down people vote for what they feel most comfortable with whether it's their gender, their political sensibility, their race, creed, or outrage. It takes a rare individual to step out of that bastion. It is not surpirsing that #AmericanSniper received so many nominations in contrast. It will be interesting to see where the cards fall on #Oscar night.
Much like the apathy surrounding global warming / climate change, and what to do to stop it, man is not comfortable feeling like the cause of the problem. So it's easier to ignore the problem, or avoid it altogether, when one feels helpless to change it.