NPR logo Oscars Voter Says 'Selma' Cast's 'I Can't Breathe' Tees Were 'Offensive'

Oscars Voter Says 'Selma' Cast's 'I Can't Breathe' Tees Were 'Offensive'

A scene from Selma. Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures hide caption

toggle caption Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures

A scene from Selma.

Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures

The Hollywood Reporter is doing a series of interviews with voting members of the academy, the folks who decide who gets an Oscar. Yesterday's (anonymous) interviewee had this to say about why Selma didn't get a nod:

"First, let me say that I'm tired of all of this talk about 'snubs' — I thought for every one of [the snubs] there was a justifiable reason. What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there's no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don't think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were.

"And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance — they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they're not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies. When a movie about black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn't that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it?

"I've got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying 'I can't breathe' [at their New York premiere] — I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up s***?"

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