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Spike Lee: Hollywood accepts black films 'every 10 years or so'

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Spike Lee
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

Following the revelation that Selma did not get nominations in several major Oscar categories yesterday, The Daily Beast spoke to Spike Lee, who revealed what he would say to Selma director Ava DuVernay: “You know what? F— ’em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one.” 

Lee—who, as The Daily Beast points out, has frequently been snubbed by the Academy—argued that people shouldn’t be surprised that Selma, which did get a Best Picture nomination, was largely excluded, given the success of 12 Years a Slave last year.

“Anyone who thinks this year was gonna be like last year is retarded,” he said. “There were a lot of black folks up there with 12 Years a Slave, Steve [McQueen], Lupita [Nyong’o], Pharrell. It’s in cycles of every 10 years. Once every 10 years or so I get calls from journalists about how people are finally accepting black films. Before last year, it was the year [in 2002] with Halle Berry, Denzel [Washington], and Sidney Poitier. It’s a 10-year cycle. So I don’t start doing backflips when it happens.”