While Thursday did not go as largely expected for the cast and crew of Selma, who despite winning nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song, did not receive nominations for its director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo, one additional accolade the film received yesterday was being picked by President Obama for a special screening at the Executive Mansion tonight, January 16. DuVernay and her cast were all invited, with Oyelowo, Common, and John Legend all slated to attend.
The screening was announced late Thursday afternoon, hours after the nominations came through from LA and following growing rage on both social media and amongst activists who decried the total lack of performers of color from the Oscar nominations, with the Reverend Al Sharpton calling the nominations “appallingly insulting.”
However, DuVernay sought to keep the mood positive, tweeting earlier in the day, “Happy Birthday, Dr. King. An Oscar gift for you. To SELMA cast + crew led by our miracle David Oyelowo. To Common + Legend! Kudos! March on!” Rapper Common and singer John Legend were nominated for their song “Glory” which picked up a Best Original Song award at Sunday’s Golden Globes and Common also shared his joy over his joint nomination on Twitter.
This continues a tradition of Obama holding Hollywood screenings at the White House, with past screenings including Lincoln and Mandela: Long Walk Of Freedom. Furthermore, black business leaders across the country have joined together to sponsor free screenings of the civil rights film that chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to over 90,000 middle school and high school students across the country.