David Oyelowo Says Academy Members Didn’t Vote For ‘Selma’ Because They Wore ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts While Promoting Film

David Oyelowo

David Oyelowo Alleges Academy Members Didn’t Vote For ‘Selma’ Because They Wore ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts While Promoting Film

Actor David Oyelowo is sharing his thoughts on why the hit 2014 Selma was snubbed for an Academy Award.

He said the film, which was nominated for Best Picture in 2015, failed to receive Academy votes because his team wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts while promoting the film. Selma was a historical drama film based on the 1965 march to Selma, AL, in protest of black’s voting rights.

During a Q&A series, David Oyelowo said:

“Six years ago…I remember at the premiere of Selma us wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in protest. Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring S-H-*-T?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film because we do not think it is their place to be doing that.’”

He continued:

“It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite. They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”

The film’s director Ava DuVernay confirmed David Oyelowo’s claims on Twitter with a post that reads,

True story.

The release of the film coincided with the tragic death of Eric Garner, who was killed on July 17, 2014, by New York police officers using excessive force while detaining him. In the process of arresting him, an officer had placed his arm around Eric Garner’s neck, choking him to death.

The New York City coroner’s officer ruled the cause of death as a heart attack. Prior to his death, Eric Garner, was a horticulturist at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, but resigned for health reasons. The involved officer,  Daniel Pantaelo was fired on August 19,2019, five years later, but was never indicted for Garner’s death.

How do you feel about David Oyelowo’s statements? Leave your thoughts with us in the comments.

Authored by: Cierra Jones