Obama to Host ‘Selma’ Screening at White House

Selma Trailer

The movie “Selma” may have scored only two Oscar nominations, but on Friday it will attain  a special distinction as it is screened at the White House in an event hosted by President Obama.

“Selma” will become the latest in a line of Oscar contenders such as last year’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and 2012’s “Lincoln” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” to be shown in the White House.

Cast and crew from the movie “Selma” are expected to attend.

On Thursday, “Selma” was nominated for picture and for song, but the failure of the movie to draw nominations in other categories generated strong reactions on Twitter, where critics blasted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for an all-white list of acting nominees.

A White House screening can add a certain prestige value to a movie, perhaps even elevating its attention in the eyes of Academy voters, but the decision rests with Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on whether to publicly reveal their film choices.

They have tended to do so when the projects have strong social or historical themes, as will be the case with the “Selma” screening just before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. In cases with movies like “Lincoln,” the White House has released photos from the event, and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was screened to high school students at the White House, followed by a film workshop featuring cast and crew.

Many of the Obamas’ movie choices, however, are not disclosed, as the 40-seat White House Family Theater is considered part of their private family quarters.

Presidential movie choices through the years have been tinged with controversy and curiosity. The first movie screened at the White House was in 1915, when Woodrow Wilson hosted a showing of “Birth of a Nation.” Richard Nixon was so obsessed with “Patton” that he had to deny years later that the movie affected his decisionmaking. An X-rated movie has even screened there — “Midnight Cowboy,” screened by Jimmy Carter.

The Obamas also have screened “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Julie & Julia” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.”


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  1. Donna says:

    To Peter Jay
    I am very well aware of the White House’s bias. My comment was iinnuendo without antagonizing.

  2. Elanor Wagenti says:

    please remove me from VARITY

  3. PETER JAY says:

    That’s fine, Dex, but Obama is still the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, so it would be nice if he showed some support of our Armed Forces by screening both the outstanding AMERICAN SNIPER and UNBROKEN in the White House. Obama has come to Los Angeles twenty times recently for money, and each time he has not even acknowledged the 6,000+ homeless United States Veterans living on the streets of Los Angeles. And 80% of our L.A. homeless veterans are African/Americans!

  4. Tony Baraka says:

    How has the President Destroyed the economy, I think you are confused (That was George W Bush) that had the country on the verge of a depression , Remember we were loosing 600,000 jobs per month??? Under President Obama 57 Straight Months of Job Growth, Employment was as high as 10.2 percent now down to 5.6 … Wallstreet broke a record, Gas Prices are at a all time low (i am sure if you drive you are seeing a direct impact ) Housing rates has dropped . Of course more is being done as well. Tell the GOP to pass the Jobs Bills that the President has put before them from 2012. As for Insurance .. You had “Junk” Insurance if you quailfy for Tax Credits your rate will be lower.

    • Ron says:

      Economy was fine under Bush when the Republicans controlled the House. Then when Nancy and crew took over during the last two years the economy tanked. Now the economy is gaining steam because the Republicans once again are in control. Gas prices are at an all-time low? It’s nearly 3.00/gal here in Seattle. If you want to give Obama credit for falling gas prices you’re a complete moron. He and the EPA have done everything in their power to destroy the industry and the only reason prices have fallen is because of private sector companies and the states giving them the permits. This administration has stonewalled every effort to do so.

  5. Selma snub? People are just tired of this never ending racial issue being presented by the elite liberal progressive socialist propaganda machine. Give it a rest Lame Stream Media and Hollywood. Americans want to live together without all your BS race baiting…

    I swear, this whole racist witch hunt is getting out of hand. I thought when we elected Obama, we were promised ‘hope and change’? His presidency has only torn us apart. We all hate each other now. It sounds cliche, but can’t we just all get along?

    While the media focuses on this non-sense, the US economy is burning. Many of our citizens have had their jobs taken away along with their health insurance. The middle class is shrinking and its not getting any better.

    Obama has destroyed our economy. Everyone is under-employed and can’t afford to live. We must now purchase health insurance we cannot afford and do not want or need (mine is $450/month… contrast this to my $25/month auto insurance from Insurance Panda… or my $12/month renters insurance from Eagle… both private-enterprise!)

    When we elected President Obama, weren’t we promised “hope and change”?

    Also – For those complaining that these awards are “too white”, It’s not about demographics, it’s about excellence. Totally subjective.


  6. Random Sarcasm says:

    I love it when people with racial issues of their own try to judge the President on what his movie Choices are. Even though white movies were mentioned in the article, most of the posters here have ignored that for the joy they get in calling the President racist. Project much?

  7. Butch Clark says:

    I’m confused..We don’t want to be treated any different except when we want to be treated different..So the actors should have been nominated because they gave a good performance or because they were black? Or both?.Is the “President” hosting because the movie was that good or because he is half black? Or both?You can try eat your cake and have it too..But you really can’t..The PEOPLE know what you really are, all of the people..Even BIG AL but this is a chance to extort money from Hollywood..You know,I wish BIG AL really cared for black people, any people like he puts on but he doesn’t..I believe these are the worst “leaders” I have ever seen. They have done more to divide people than the KKK. GOD bless America, where fools like Obama-Big Al and the KKK can compete on the same level..There really is no differents..

  8. I commend the people that live in our WH for the showing. I just wonder if they will ask the movie people to show special screenings of American Sniper and Unbroken. Both exceptional movies portraying heroes in the history of our Country. I also saw the trailer to MacFarland, a true life story about a bunch of rag tag teenagers inspired by a coach who believes in their potential. The pres and his family are privileged to see more movies than the American family, but they should not limit themselves, but expand their horizons on great movies.

  9. PETER JAY says:

    Joe Wilson, you’re right, the President should be showing the powerful AMERICAN SNIPER, he’s the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces or show that in addition to screening SELMA.

    • Dex says:

      @Peter Jay and Joe Wilson
      It’s obvious that the “Selma” screening is in recognition of MLK day.

      • Ron says:

        Why would Obama show a screening of American Sniper? Kyle died several years ago and he never acknowledge him or his service and he’s yet to do so. But when Whitney Houston and Heavy D died he was all over that. Pretty pathetic for a Commander in Chief. I guess it’s not surprising his approval rating with military members is 15%.

  10. joe wilson says:

    He should be showing American Sniper instead of a retread of the past . Also it sounds like they made some stuff up to please the libs.

    • Peggy Allen says:

      NOPE. Your WHITE PRIVILEGE will not allow you to determine what movies the President shows. Too bad for Clint who spent the republican convention disrespecting this president. So now you think he has to show his movie instead of one about Civil RIGHTS??? F you and Clint and the Academy for snubbing Ava.

      • PETER JAY says:

        Peggy Allen, “white privilege” is a great sounding term for ignorant people. White privilege is 1/10th of 1% of the white population. Meaning that 99 9/10th percent of white people are NOT “white privilege”. So wake up and come out of denial, Peggy Allen. And F you for your self righteous stupidly and begin facing reality and take responsibility for yourself! And Clint Eastwood was brilliant with his depiction of Obama as an empty chair! Obama is suppose to be President for all legal, U.S. citizens, not just Afro/Americans and illegal aliens!

  11. PETER JAY says:

    The White House is biased, Donna! Isn’t that obvious?

  12. Donna says:

    The White House should be inviting all the best picture nominees to be screened there to avoid the impression that the White House is biased!

  13. Contessa46 says:

    President Obama should NOT invite any of the Johnson family as they depicted his involvement without the passion that Johnson had over the issue. He worked with King and they were NOT adversaries as depicted in the movie. This is backed by press who were there! In addition he gave the speech to the House of Representatives NOT the senate. The issue is voting rights which they were entitled to but didn’t gain until 100 years after the civil war and now the republicans want to take it away by requiring all sorts of proof and I.d. Requirements. They should pay less attention to this as its not been a problem and more to legitimate business of the nation.

  14. PETER JAY says:

    Is Obama inviting President Johnson’s family?

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