NEW YORK (AP) - David Oyelowo, who played the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the film “Selma,” says there’s an interesting upside to not getting an Oscar nomination.
“In many ways I think we probably got more attention for not being nominated,” he said in a recent interview. “I’ve actually found that people were so disgruntled by some of the love that ‘Selma’ didn’t get with certain award shows that it makes their love for it even more vehement. When they hug me, they hug me real tight, you know?”
Certain award show snubs aside, Oyelowo is nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance in the HBO TV movie “Nightingale,” where he plays a man unraveling after committing a heinous act off-screen.
Next, he co-stars with Kate Mara in “Captive,” opening Sept. 18. It’s based on the 2005 true crime story of Brian Nichols, a killer who takes a young waitress hostage and the two connect on a spiritual level.
Oyelowo told The Associated Press about his work, being “a goofball” and what kind of film he’d love to do next.
AP: How has your career changed since “Selma”?
Oyelowo: My career kind of changed from the moment it was announced that I may be playing Dr King. That was in 2010. … Until then, I was a British actor … desperately trying to get my foot in the door and when Lee Daniels, who was the director attached at that time, chose me to play him I think there was a lot of head-scratching as to why this British dude who we had not seen much work from (got the part.) But, Hollywood is a sort of heat-seeking industry. If there’s something happening over there, the attention goes over there. … What it’s really given me the opportunity to do is get behind stories I want to see told.
AP: That must be a good feeling.
Oyelowo: It’s a great feeling because I gravitate toward stories that are a bit tougher. They don’t immediately scream “box office.”
AP: Would you ever do a big budget, popcorn-type movie?
Oyelowo: I really want to do those kinds of movies. My thing is that I would still want what I look for as an artist to be present and I don’t think they have to be mutually exclusive. You see films like the “Bourne Identity” films, where there is both flash and substance.
AP: What about comedy. Would you do one?
Oyelowo: (Laughs.) Yeah, if I say I should be mixing it up I guess that should be the next thing, shouldn’t it? It’s funny. I’m a bit of a goofball. I have four kids. Our house is full of laughter and silliness. I would love to do comedy. I think that’s a challenge. It really is. Comedy is not easy. So for anyone listening, please, please, please consider me. (Laughs.)
AP: Does being nominated for an Emmy for “Nightingale” make up for not getting nominated for an Oscar for “Selma”?
Oyelowo: When it comes to the Emmys, “Nightingale” is a tiny film we made for next to no money. Probably the least amount of money I’ve ever made on any film that I’ve done. We did it as independent (film,) we envisioned playing a couple theaters. Probably have a bit of a life on Apple TV. Not HBO with gigantic billboards across the country of my fat head beaming down. Not these nominations. The lesson for me is at the end of the day it’s all about the work.
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