When Paramount Pictures and Pathé announced earlier this month that “Selma,” Ava DuVernay’s Martin Luther King, Jr. film would be released on Christmas Day, they set award prognosticating tongues wagging.
Without a doubt, the prime release date means that Plan B, Oprah Winfrey and Cloud Eight-produced film will be making a push for awards love for the director and David Oyelowo (“The Butler”), who will star as the civil rights legend. And there’s supporting talent to contend for other awards, from Tom Wilkinson to Carmen Ejogo to the film’s financier, Oprah Winfrey.
MLK’s history-making march from Selma, Alabama to the state capital in Montgomery in March 1965 paved the road for President Lyndon Baines Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the release of “Selma” (limited on Christmas Day and expanding to wide on January 9, 2015) will mark the 50th anniversary of the march.
DuVernay is best known for her 2012 Sundance prize-winning drama “Middle of Nowhere,” which also starred Oyelowo. Principal photography on “Selma” began in May, and we wondered at the time whether the project would have time to finish up before the fall festivals. Given that the film wraps in the next week, it’s unlikely to make the early fests, but could squeak into a later one like AFI FEST. So that will present an awareness challenge for Paramount as it promotes the film in advance of that Christmas Day release. (The strong performance of Weinstein’s “The Butler” bodes well for this film’s box office.)
DuVernay, who runs a marketing and distribution company, knows her way around social media makes a model promoter for a film in production, posting updates on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Just a few days ago, the director shared an Instagram selfie with several of her cast members in advance of the final day of filming this week. You can bet that DuVernay will be hard at work in post-production for the next few months. Take a look after the jump at some of her updates.