Should’ve Been a Contender: Ava DuVernay For “Selma”

Every year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) holds an annual award show honouring the best and boldest in filmmaking. And every year, there is an extensive discourse on who was snubbed or overlooked or incorrectly nominated. I have those opinions each awards season but there is one snub that still gets me: Ava DuVernay. When her film “Selma” premiered in 2014, it was staggering to see the level of detail put into every aspect of that film. The history, the acting, the cinematography, the set design, and so on. But the direction and momentum of the film rested solely with DuVernay.

Review: Harriet

Here it is, 2019, and we’re just getting our very first feature film biopic of civil rights legend Harriet Tubman. It’s just a shame that it isn’t a more inspired one. Cynthia Erivo is more than competent in the lead role, bringing a vibrancy and determination to Tubman’s heroism, but the rest of the film is a drab, paint-by-numbers biopic. Harriet was born a slave, under the name of Araminta Ross. When the film begins, she and her free husband John (Zackary Momoh) are unsuccessfully arguing the legality of her enslavement with her master. Their failure to negotiate Harriet’s freedom makes them so desperate that they discuss running away together, but circumstances transpire that force her to take the long, arduous journey north alone.

Review: Harriet

Harriet Tubman was an amazing woman. She escaped slavery on her own, went back dozens of times to rescue others, lead a military operation south to reach even more people, and after the war fought for women's rights. Her life has been begging for a biopic but until now she has only appeared in a cameo role in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"(2012), as the subject of an episode of "Drunk History" (2013-), and on various history shows for kids. "Harriet"(2019) does an excellent job finally brining an extraordinary woman to the big screen.

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