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Compton native makes history with “Selma” film

Only two other African-Americans—both male— have been nominated in the best director category at the Globes COMPTON (MNS) —Compton High School grad Ava DuVernay, who directed the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma, became the first

Only two other African-Americans—both male— have been nominated in the best director category at the Globes

COMPTON (MNS) —Compton High School grad Ava DuVernay, who directed the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma, became the first Black female to be nominated for a best director Golden Globe on Dec. 11, 2013. She went on to also become the first Black female director to have a film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

But DuVernay, 42, says that on the morning of the Golden Globe nominations, she was focused on just one thing: hoping for a nomination for her star, David Oyelowo.

Ava Duvernay

Nominated for two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, five Critics Choice awards, eight NAACP Image Awards and five Independent Spirit Awards, Ava DuVernay’s most recent film SELMA chronicles the historic 1965 voting rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“All I was thinking in my heart, truly, was ‘Please just David, just David,’” she said. “This man put every ounce of his heart and spirit and mind, every piece of his DNA into this picture. That’s all I wanted.”

Oyelowo, who was in Toronto with DuVernay on the morning of the nominations, did receive a nod for Best Actor, Drama. And the Paramount film, about the civil rights marches of Selma, Al., received a nomination for best picture, drama.

But it’s DuVernay’s own nomination for best director that is unprecedented. Only two other African-Americans—both male— have been nominated in the best director category at the Globes: Spike Lee in 1990 for Do The Right Thing and Steve McQueen in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave.

“She’s the first Black woman to be nominated for best director. She’s made a little bit of history. It’s so wonderful,” Oyelowo said the morning of the nominations, swapping praise with Duvernay.

“I’m so proud of her. She’s only been doing this for five years; this is her third movie. It’s a big moment for her.”

In 2012, DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win the best director prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film, Middle of Nowhere. If she’s nominated for an Oscar for best director, she would be the first Black female to receive that honor as well.

“This movie wouldn’t exist without her,” said Plan B producer Dede Gardner, of DuVernay. “She’s in every frame of the movie. Every choice — casting, music, the quiet in the film, the fret, the worry, the joy — that alchemy is hers.”

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton and the Los Angeles metropolitan area of California, and the world.

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