President Obama to host ‘Selma’ screening at the White House

American President Barack Obama is hosting a screening of the civil-rights film Selma at the White House, just one day after it was announced as an Oscar contender for Best Picture.

Select members of the cast and crew are expected to attend the special screening, which will take place in the Obamas' 40-seat private family cinema on Friday, Jan. 16 and will kick off the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend in the United States.

Produced by Oprah Winfrey, the film depicts the 1965 Alabama civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery that was led by Martin Luther King Jr., who is played by British actor David Oyelowo.

On Thursday morning (Jan. 15), the Academy announced its Oscar nominees for 2015. Contrary to expectation (and recent nomination sweeps at the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards), Selma garnered just two nominations for Best Picture and Best Song (“Glory” by John Legend and Common). The highly acclaimed film's failure to earn other nods, including one for Best Director for Ava DuVernay, gave rise to some strong reactions on Twitter and in the media.

Oscars 2015: All the nominees

The Academy's current president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, explained the reasoning behind the decision to New York magazine's Vulture blog.

"There are a lot of terrific motion pictures, it's a very competitive time, and there's a lot of great work that has been done. I am very happy that Selma is included in our eight terrific motion-picture [nominations]," she said.

It’s not the first time that the President has shown historical/political dramas at the White House. Previous screenings include last year's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and 2012’s Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

The Obama family has also screened fictional fare, including 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire and the 2009 romantic-comedy He's Just Not That Into You starring Jennifer Aniston, Scarlett Johansson and Drew Barrymore.

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