So basically, we need to make our own shit and stop paying for shit that doesn't support the kinds of stories we want to see. I mean I guess I have to just keep re-stating the obvious, since we keep getting derailed by decisions that have nothing to do with us. What I mean by not supporting stuff means the following:
1. Stop buying tickets to movies that don't tell our stories
2. Boycott the corporations involved in making those movies that ignore our stories
3. You can identify which corporations by watching who buys the $83 million dollars of advertising during the Oscars. Oscar night & the Superbowl is where corporate America spends most of it advertising money.
What I mean by supporting stories we want to see,
1. Buy a ticket opening weekend to a black film that you want to support. Because if you don't buy opening weekend, the film will close sooner because opening weekend numbers are what determine if a theatre stays in theatres.
2. Actively seek out the work of lesser known directors of color and send them a check once a year. This is not rocket science. These directors are running around like crazy people begging for money to get our stories told and then we never invest. You don't have to have million dollars to invest in Black film. Pick Five Directors and send each of them a check for $10 once a year. If everybody in America did that, Directors of Color with good stories wouldn't need Hollywood deals to continue telling our stories.
Scott Mendelson in Forbes Magazine
But Ms. DuVernay used Paramount’s (Viacom VIAB -1.96% Inc.) Selma as both a personal artistic statement and a calling card of sorts in terms of what she can do behind a camera in an industry that is mostly filled with white male directors. White male filmmakers have the luxury of being mediocre, and would-be Oscar bait films about interesting white males have the luxury of shrugging off the failures accrued during Oscar season and coasting merely on the perception of prestige whether the films are worthy or not. Damien Chazelle and Dan Gilroy will get huge career boosts merely because Whiplash and Nightcrawler were two of the best movies of the year, and Oscar validation would merely have been a cherry on top. Ms. DuVernay, more than her peers, arguably needed that Oscar validation as a bargaining chip.
That Ms. DuVernay didn’t get a Best Director Oscar nomination doesn’t make Selma any less of a great film. But that she was not among the final five announced this morning points to the notion that the smear campaign worked as intended. It’s a sad reflection of a year when a number of good, great, and lousy fictionalized true-life biopics about allegedly great or somewhat interesting white men are well-represented while one of the very best-reviewed movies of the year went with hardly a single relevant nomination, aside from getting into the expanded Best Picture field, arguably on account of controversy over its accuracy. Considering the obstacles that Ms. DuVernay faces in terms of just steady employment by virtue of her gender and skin color, the risk of Selma being defined not by its once-unquestionable quality as a motion picture but rather by the context of its back-and-forth bantering over its alleged historical embellishments is more than just trivial.
I’m angry because one of the best films of the year has been libeled and that said libel apparently worked. I hope I’m wrong about both Selma’s cinematic legacy and about DuVernay’s career prospects. Maybe she will get a call from Marvel tomorrow to helm a Phase Three picture as Luke Y. Thompson brilliantly advocated on Monday. Maybe she will quickly make a deal to do whatever it is she wants to do with little fuss and little melodrama merely based on the obvious filmmaking talent than Selma displays. But her omission from the five Best Director candidates this year makes that possibility that much less likely in a way that it wouldn’t have for a Selma directed by (for example) Paul Greengrass. Greengrass, who originally intended to direct Memphis based on an earlier portion of King’s life, would have emerged unscathed. I can only hope Ava DuVernay does. And that’s why it matters. And that’s why I’m angry.