Entertainment & Arts

Selma star David Oyelowo disappointed by Bafta snub

David Oyelowo Image copyright AP
Image caption David Oyelowo plays civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King in Selma

Former Spooks star David Oyelowo has expressed disappointment at the way Bafta has snubbed his new film Selma.

The British actor plays Martin Luther King in the film about the 1965 campaign in Selma, Alabama, for equal voting rights for African-Americans.

The film, out in the UK next week, has been lauded by critics but received no Bafta nominations.

The film received two Oscar nominations - for best picture and best original song.

"When it's the best reviewed film of the year, and it's a film of this significance, and you have British company Pathe producing it, and you have four Brits as the main characters of the film, you expect to be nominated for Baftas," Oyelowo told the BBC.

"When that doesn't happen it sends an odd message."

The Oxford-born actor, who now lives in Los Angeles, said he was proud to be a British actor and it was meaningful to him to have his work well-received in the UK.

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Media captionDavid Oyelowo: "What doesn't change is the reality of racial injustice, of prejudice"

"For me, you keep it moving, you go on to the next thing, you have to, but I would not say that it is something you just brush off, and go 'OK, that's just happenstance'. It's disappointing."

Selma has been a long-term project for Oyelowo, who first came across the script when he relocated to LA in 2007. He is best known to British TV viewers for his role as MI5 officer Danny Hunter in Spooks.

His recent film appearances include Interstellar, A Most Violent Year, The Butler, Jack Reacher, The Paperboy and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Earlier this week Oyelowo attended Selma's European premiere in London. He was joined on the red carpet by co-stars Tom Wilkinson, who plays President Lyndon Johnson; Colman Domingo, who plays civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy; and director Ava DuVernay.

DuVernay, who Oyelowo brought on board to make the film, said at the premiere that it was a "shame" that Bafta voters had not acknowledged his performance.

"He's one of the brightest stars to come out of Britain of any colour. But particularly around this performance, that's so transformative, so important, so immersive. I'd have liked to have seen him get that."

When the Oscar nominations were announced, a week after the Baftas, there was widespread surprise that both Oyelowo and DuVernay missed out in the acting and directing categories.

Oyelowo told the BBC that he would be at the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood, on 22 February, to support the film in its best picture nomination. "We're not underplaying at all that achievement," he said.

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