“Selma” director Ava DuVernay is ready to start a new conversation.
The director of the Oscar-nominated film “Selma” told the Daily News at the 52nd annual ICG Publicists Awards in Los Angeles on Friday that she wants to stop discussing the controversy over the lack of diversity reflected in this year’s Academy Award nominations.
Her film, which centers on civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became swept up in that conversation when it received only two nods for Best Picture and Best Original Song.
DuVernay and her film’s star David Oyelowo were perceived as being snubbed in the Best Director and Best Actor categories, respectively.
She told The News that as much as she appreciates the ongoing debate, she feels that the attention has been a “distraction” from “Selma” itself.
“With all due respect, all of these issues around race, gender and class are a distraction right now to the beauty of a film about freedom fighters who fought for justice and indignity; the rest of it is kind of media-created hype.
“I am not interested in talking about it anymore, but I appreciate the questions.”
While DuVernay is interested in moving on from the discussion, she said she supports Oyelowo using awards season as a platform to debate the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations and in the film business.
“I think he is wonderful — everything he says is fantastic,” she said. “I think any conversation about diversity, inclusion and representation is a positive thing.”
When asked if Oyelowo was brave for addressing the issue, she responded, “I don’t think it is brave.”
“It is reality. It is just speaking truth.”
DuVernay, who worked as a publicist prior to becoming a filmmaker, attended the event to present the Publicists Guild President’s Award to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first female African-American president of the Academy Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences.