Feminist’s Forum: Oscar snub shows sexism and racism in Academy


Jillian Leiby, JagWire opinions editor

I apologize for not writing a blog last week. Even though these are graded, I still had to take a slight break after the Oscar nominations. That might seem dramatic to some, but I suggest you take a look at my previous blog before you continue reading.

To put it mildly, I had high hopes for this year’s Oscars. Ava Duvernay, who got rave reviews for her direction of the film “Selma,” was most likely going to be nominated for best director. And then she wasn’t.

You might say that I was rooting for her just because she was going to be the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for best director, and you would have been right, until this last Sunday. I had huge expectations for “Selma” and I was dragging my feet to go see it in case it wasn’t everything I thought it would be.

But it was. “Selma” was amazing. It was a master class in both directing and acting. Besides Duvernay’s creative and beautiful directing style, David Oyelowo was Martin Luther King. It wasn’t just an impersonation; Oyelowo embodied Martin Luther King both as the legendary historical figure and the man, broken with years of injustices against him. How Oyelowo didn’t receive an Oscar nomination is beyond me.

I know I speak a lot about feminism, but to truly be a feminist is to acknowledge the equality of all, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. For “Selma” to receive almost universal acclaim and yet receive less Oscar nominations than the lazy filmmaking of “American Sniper” disgusts me. That people would care more about the historical inaccuracies in the former and less in the latter shows the racism that still exists in the film industry and in the nation in general.

That being said, I have not actually seen “American Sniper,” but I doubt it would be able to affect me the way “Selma” has. Throughout the film, the injustices and frustration that were beautifully conveyed through exciting directing and heartbreaking acting drew incredulous gasps from both my mother, who I saw the film with, and me. After the film ended, my mother and I sat there for a few minutes, holding back tears. I have a feeling that is how I will feel after the Oscars air.

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