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2015 Oscar Nominations: 2 for ‘Selma’ + Sissako & Mauritania Make History + ‘Virunga’ & ‘Beyond the Lights’ Get 1

2015 Oscar Nominations: 2 for 'Selma' + Sissako & Mauritania Make History + 'Virunga' & 'Beyond the Lights' Get 1

The granddaddy of them all – the Academy Award nominees – were announced this morning.

Of interest to this blog, “Selma” received 2 nominations: Best Picture and Best Original Song (“Glory”).

And that obviously means that the director of the film, Ava DuVernay, won’t compete for the Best Director Oscar – at least, not this year.

Also, the star of the film, David Oyelowo, isn’t nominated for what would’ve been a Best Actor Academy Award.

“Selma” is still very much in theaters, so, rather than gripe about Academy snubs, speak with your dollars instead, and go see the film – especially if you haven’t yet done so.

Also nominated in the Original Song category is a track from Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “Beyond the Lights,” by Diane Warren, titled “Grateful.” That film is also still in theaters, by the way – although certainly not in as many as it was during the early half of its release.

Meanwhile, Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” representing Mauritania, picked up a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film competition. While history wasn’t made in the case of “Selma” (if Ava DuVernay was nominated in her category, she would’ve become the first black woman director to be recognized), history has been made here, because this will be the first time that Sissako has been nominated by the Academy, and also the first time that the country (Mauritania) has received an Oscar nomination. So 2 for the history books in this case! If you’re looking for something to get excited about, how about this?

“Timbuktu” was inspired by the real-life story of the 2012 stoning of a young unmarried couple, by Islamists, in a Northern Mali town called Aguelhok. Their crime? They weren’t officially married, and thus, in the eyes of their executioners, were committing a crime against divine law. That summer, the couple was brought to the center of the town, placed in holes in the ground, and stoned to death in front of hundreds of watchers – a horribly tragic incident that drew international media attention, and motivated at least one filmmaker to address on film.

Cohen Media Group will release the film in the USA theatrically, starting on January 28, 2015.

Also of note, “Virunga” is nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category. Part investigative journalism, and part nature documentary, the film follows an embattled team of park rangers and the endangered mountain gorillas they protect, as they are caught in the crossfire of poachers, militia and industry in continental Africa’s oldest national park. 

By the way, “Virunga” is streaming on Netflix right now, if you haven’t seen it. It also marks an Oscar nomination for Netflix, who distributed the film.

That’s it.. for now!

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