Quentin Tarantino Tells ‘Black Critics’ His Race Doesn’t Matter, Disses ‘Selma’

Quentin Tarantino
AGF s.r.l./REX Shutterstock

Quentin Tarantino is courting controversy once again, with his less-than-favorable views on “Selma” and comments saying he was persecuted for his skin color in “Django Unchained” criticisms.

In an interview with Bret Easton Ellis for T Magazine, Tarantino revealed his opinion of Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” which was largely left out of last year’s Oscar race, leading many to criticize the Academy for its exclusion. While it was nominated for best picture, it was not nominated in the acting and directing categories.

“She did a really good job on ‘Selma’ but ‘Selma’ deserved an Emmy,” he said to “American Psycho” author.

Update, 10/14: Tarantino later backpedaled on these comments in an email to IndieWire, writing, “I’m writing you to pass on that the quote from the NY Times piece about ‘Selma’ is wrong. I never saw ‘Selma.’ If you look at the article, it was Bret who was talking about ‘Selma,’ not me. I did say the line ‘it deserved a Emmy,’ but when I said it, it was more like a question.

Which basically meant, ‘it’s like a TV movie?’ Which Bret and myself being from the same TV generation, was not only understood, but there was no slam intended. Both Bret and myself come from the seventies and eighties when there were a lot of historically based TV movies: the King mini-series written by Abby Mann staring Paul Winfield; ‘Crisis at Central High’ with Joanne Woodward. And ‘Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys.’ These were great TV movies. I’d be honored to be placed next to those films. However, I haven’t seen it. Does it look like a seventies TV movie? Yes. Does it play like one, I don’t know, I haven’t seen it.”

In the T Magazine piece, Ellis and Tarantino also discussed the backlash the director received in 2012 following the release of “Django Unchained.” Tarantino was panned by some black writers and filmmakers who believed he diminished the experience of slavery. He felt that these criticisms came from him being a white man.

“When the black critics came out with savage think pieces about ‘Django,’ I couldn’t have cared less. If people don’t like my movies, they don’t like my movies, and if they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter,” Tarantino said. “The bad taste that was left in my mouth had to do with this: It’s been a long time since the subject of a writer’s skin was mentioned as often as mine. You wouldn’t think the color of a writer’s skin should have any effect on the words themselves. In a lot of the more ugly pieces, my motives were really brought to bear in the most negative way. It’s like I’m some supervillain coming up with this stuff.”

Reps for DuVernay did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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  1. I think we should just stop putting so many microphones in Tarantino’s face. Something a little off always comes out, but I guess that’s why there are so many microphones in his face. Maybe he’s kind of addicted to all the press since Django?

  2. I feel like Tarantino (and Bret Ellis, for that matter), is stuck in this weird 1990s hyperviolent-hyperreality cinematic focus that really doesn’t have any pull at this day and age. Selma was an excellent movie and snobbishly putting it off as if his films have more or even the same depth just shows how behind the times this so-called auteur is.

    • Earl_of_Sandwiches says:

      Probably why Selma made loads of money at the box office and Django Unchained was a huge commercial flop.

      Saying a thing, with all your heart, doesn’t make it true.

      • myronang says:

        “Saying a thing, with all your heart, doesn’t make it true”… Yeah this kind of…doesn’t sit well with me.

        I can understand suggesting that Django’s commercial success proves Tarantino’s continued pull in this day and age. However, comparing the box office draws of Django and Selma doesn’t quite get at the whole picture. Consider this: Tarantino can be snobbish and a bit behind the times when it comes to criticizing contemporary films other than his own. When comparing their rotten tomatoes scores, you’ll find that Selma sits at 99%, while Django sits at 88%. Obviously, 88% is nothing to sneeze at, but clearly critics as a whole saw something in Selma that they didn’t see in Django. It’s strange that Tarantino felt it necessary to speculate about Selma the way he did, especially if he hadn’t seen it yet, especially especially since in the same interview he addresses a very racially charged criticism of his work.

  3. PiperEllie says:

    I don’t find it a diss at all since television is actually becoming more and more enjoyable these days. However Mr.Tarantino, in his own childish way, thinks he made a funny. Very unprofessional and inappropriate. Someone as well known, in the film industry as he should rather praise other artist not be cracking jokes or putting them down, whether he was trying to be funny or not. Quentin, you know you were one of the first to see “Selma” Grow up man!

  4. Nancy says:

    Was there a misprint in this article? It doesn’t seem like he dissed “Selma”.

  5. Swag says:

    What a dick.

  6. i don’t get how he “dissed” selma. he said it deserved an emmy. is that a diss?

  7. mcgwynne says:

    Your links are not operable and when I copy and paste “Trouble clicking” link I get as “whooops” Help? M –

  8. Lisa says:

    “I mean, it’s like I’m black or some other ethnic group or something, the way my skin color keeps popping up in reference to my work!” — QT

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