According to Oyelowo, Oscar voters were upset that the cast wore T-shirts that read “I Can’t Breathe” to the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. The move was a way of condemning the murder of Eric Garner by cops in New York in July 2014.
“Members of the Academy called in to the studio and our producers saying, ‘How dare they do that? Why are they stirring sh*t?’ and ‘We are not going to vote for that film, because we do not think it is their place to be doing that,’” Oyelowo explained to Screen Daily’s Screen Talk.
“It’s part of why that film didn’t get everything that people think it should’ve got and it birthed #OscarsSoWhite,” added Oyelowo. “They used their privilege to deny a film on the basis of what they valued in the world.”
The director of Selma, Ava DuVernay, confirmed the story on Twitter, writing “true story.”
— Variety (@Variety) June 5, 2020