Oyelowo calls out Oscars for recognizing 'subservient' roles

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David Oyelowo + Stars of Selma
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Oyelowo calls out Oscars for recognizing 'subservient' roles
David Oyelowo gave a bold answer as to why he was passed over for an Oscar nomination for his critically acclaimed role as Martin Luther King, Jr. in 'Selma.'
David Oyelowo arrives at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuosos Award ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
David Oyelowo arrives at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuosos Award ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Santa Barbara, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Actor David Oyelowo and wife Jessica pose for photographers at a central London cinema, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, for the European premiere of Selma, a film about a three month campaign led by Martin Luther King Jr, which culminated in a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, USA. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Dr. Mohammad Bhuiyan, fourth from left, joins hands with actor David Oyelowo, center, who portrays the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma,"Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, second from right, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., during the singing of "We Shall Overcome" at a service honoring King at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Actor David Oyelowo, who portrays the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma," cries as he speaks during a service honoring King at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Actor David Oyelowo, who portrays the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma," speaks at the King holiday commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where King preached, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Oprah Winfrey lowers her head to pray with David Oyelowo, who portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma" before they march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Selma, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
David Oyelowo, who portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma" just before he marches to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Selma, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Actor David Oyelowo, who portrays the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma," prepares to speak during a service honoring King at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in Atlanta. Also pictured are King's daughter Bernice King, left, and his sister Christine King Farris, right. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Oprah Winfrey locks arms with David Oyelowo, who portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie "Selma" as they march to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Selma, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
David Oyelowo arrives at the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
SANTA BARBARA, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Actor David Oyelowo attends the Virtuosos Award at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theater on February 1, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Jennifer Lourie/WireImage)
SANTA BARBARA, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Actor David Oyelowo speaks at the Virtuosos Award at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theater on February 1, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Santa Barbara International Film Festival)
SANTA BARBARA, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Actor David Oyelowo attends a screening of 'Nightingale' at the Metro at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 1, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Santa Barbara International Film Festival)
SANTA BARBARA, CA - FEBRUARY 01: Actor David Oyelowo attends a screening of 'Nightingale' at the Metro at the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival on l on February 1, 2015 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Santa Barbara International Film Festival)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: (SUN NEWSPAPER OUT. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE J. HOGAN GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Actor David Oyelowo (second left) with his family attend the European premiere of 'Selma' after party at One Mayfair on January 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: (L to R) Colman Domingo, Jade Ewen and David Oyelowo attend the European Premiere of 'Selma' at One Mayfair on January 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: (SUN NEWSPAPER OUT. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE J. HOGAN GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Actor David Oyelowo attends the European premiere of 'Selma' at the Curzon Mayfair on January 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: (SUN NEWSPAPER OUT. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE J. HOGAN GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Actor David Oyelowo attends the European premiere of 'Selma' at the Curzon Mayfair on January 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
SELMA, AL - JANUARY 18: EDITORIAL USE ONLY David Oyelowo attends a special screening of 'Selma,' presented by Paramount Pictures on January 18, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
SELMA, AL - JANUARY 18: EDITORIAL USE ONLY- Oprah Winfrey greets David Oyelowo during the red carpet event for a special screeing of 'Selma' on January 18, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
SELMA, AL - JANUARY 18: EDITORIAL USE ONLY- David Oyelowo waves to audience members at the Selma High School Q&A event on January 18, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: Actor David Oyelowo attends the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for A&E Network)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Actors David Oyelowo (L) and Oprah Winfrey attend the 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for A&E Network)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: (EDITORS NOTE: Image processed using digital filters) Actor David Oyelowo attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Oprah Winfrey (L) and actor David Oyelowo attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards cocktail party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 09: Actor David Oyelowo arrives at the 15th Annual AFI Awards at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Actors Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo and Brad Pitt attend the 15th Annual AFI Awards Luncheon at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 09: Actors Matthew McConaughey (L) and David Oyelowo attend the 15th Annual AFI Awards Luncheon at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 9, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AFI)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 06: (L-R) Common, Director Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo attend the 2014 National Board of Review Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 06: David Oyelowo visits The SiriusXM Studios For 'Selma: An Urban View Special' on January 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: David Oyelowo arrives for the 'Late Show with David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on January 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - The cast of the movie 'Selma,' actors Common, David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo air on ABC's 'The View,' Monday, January 19, 2015. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
SELMA, AL - JANUARY 18: 'Selma' director Ava DuVernay participates in the ceremony to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 18, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by David A. Smith/Getty Images)
SELMA, AL - JANUARY 18: 'Selma' director Ava DuVernay participates in the ceremony to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 18, 2015 in Selma, Alabama. (Photo by David A. Smith/Getty Images)
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David Oyelowo gave a bold answer as to why he was passed over for an Oscar nomination for his critically acclaimed role as Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma.

"Generally speaking, we as black people have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being at the center of our own narrative, driving it forward," he said of his snub while at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this weekend.

PHOTOS: And the Oscar Nominees Are...

Oyelowo, who was nominated for a Golden Globe, further commented that he thought Denzel Washington deserved to win an Oscar when he was nominated in 1992 for his role as Malcom X. He also noted that Sidney Poitier didn't get nominated for his iconic performance as authoritative figure Virgil Tibbs in the 1967 film In The Heat of the Night. Instead, the legendary actor won for Lillies of the Field where he played an itinerant handyman who builds a church for a group of nuns.


"We've just got to come to the point whereby there isn't a self-fulfilling prophecy, a notion of who black people are, that feeds into what we are celebrated as, not just in the Academy, but in life generally," the 38-year-old actor proclaimed. "We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things. But we've been leaders, we've been kings, we've been those who changed the world."

VIDEO: Brad Pitt Leads a Sing-along for Selma Star David Oyelowo

ET caught up with Oyelowo this past month at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards, and the actor was pretty positive about a change to more diversity in the entertainment industry. "These things happen," he said of his Oscars snub. "The prize for me is that this film is resonating so beautifully with audiences."

David Oyelowo on Oscars' Lack of Diversity: 'We're Just Going to Keep Plugging Away'

Do you think Oyelowo should have been nominated for an Oscar? State your case in the comments and tweet #ETnow.

See photos from the historic 1965 Selma march:
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Selma 1965
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Oyelowo calls out Oscars for recognizing 'subservient' roles
Dr. Martin Luther King, third from right, marchers across the Alabama River on the first of a five day, 50 mile march to the state capitol at Montgomery, Ala., on March 21, 1965.(AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader, started as a minister the church at right in Montgomery, Ala., years ago, and today led a mass movement of demonstrators on the Alabama state capitol at left. They were protesting discrimination in voting rights against blacks. The rally ended a 54-mile march from Selma, Ala., starting Sunday. (AP Photo/stf)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his demonstrators stream over an Alabama River bridge at the city limits of Selma, Ala., March 10, 1965, during a voter rights march. They were stopped and turned back a short time later. A federal judge had banned the march. (AP Photo/stf)
An armed soldier stands on duty at Selma, Ala., March 21, 1965, as Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights marchers head for Montgomery, the state's capitol, on a five day, 50 mile walk to protest voting laws. The soldiers were called out by President Johnson to protect the marchers. (AP Photo/stf)
Martin Luther King, Jr. and his civil rights marchers head for Montgomery, the state's capitol, March 21, 1965 during a five day, 50 mile walk to protest voting laws. Soldiers were called out by President Johnson to protect the marchers. (AP Photo)
Alabama state troopers charge into a line of demonstrators making an attempt to march to Montgomery from Selma, Ala, March 7, 1965. (AP Photo)
A black woman, Annie Lee Cooper battles with Sheriff Jim Clark, of Dallas County, center, as his hat falls to the ground, after, police said, she struck the sheriff with her fist. Black people lined up morning of Jan.28, 1965 for the second week of registration at the Dallas County Courthouse, where violence erupted shortly after Dr. Martin Luther King arrived at the scene. (AP photo/HC)
State troopers swing billy clubs to break up a civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala., March 7, 1965. (AP Photo)
Civil rights marchers reach the halfway mark in their 50-mile protest walk as they trudge along Route 80 in the rain from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., on March 23, 1965. This is the third day of the voter registration march, which will end with a mass rally near the Alabama state Capitol. (AP Photo)
Civil rights marchers carry flags and play the flute as they approach their goal of Montgomery, Alabama's state Capitol, on March 24, 1965. This is their fourth day in the voter registration protest march. From left to right are, Dick Jackman, New York; Len Chandler, New York, playing the flute; Jim Letherer, Saginaw, Michigan, on crutches; and Louis Marshall, Selma, Alabama. (AP Photo)
Civil rights demonstrators struggle on the ground as state troopers use violence to break up a march in Selma, Ala., on what is known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965. The supporters of black voting rights organized a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper and to improve voter registration for blacks, who are discouraged to register. (AP Photo)
Tear gas fumes fill the air as state troopers, ordered by Gov. George Wallace, break up a demonstration march in Selma, Ala., on what is known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965. As several hundred marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge to begin their protest march to Montgomery, state troopers violently assaulted the crowd with clubs and whips. A shocked nation watched the police brutality on television and demanded that Washington intervene and protect voter registration rights for blacks. (AP Photo)
Alabama police troopers on horseback watch as troopers on the ground swing their clubs at demonstrators in Selma, Ala., on what is known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965. Supporters of black voting rights organized a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper and to improve voter registration for blacks, who are discouraged to register. (AP photo)
Hosea Williams, left, who led a march in Selma, Ala., leaves the scene as state troopers break up the demonstration on what is known as Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965. Behind him, at right, John Lewis of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee is put on the ground by a trooper. Lewis suffered a possible skull fracture. Supporters of black voting rights organized a march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper and to improve voter registration for blacks, who are discouraged to register. (AP Photo)
Mayor Joe Smitherman makes a statement to newsmen, banning a march to the courthouse, as protestors gathered in a near by church at Selma, Ala., March.10,1965. Smitherman said tensions were too high to permit the eight block demonstator march. At left, is Wilson Baker, Selma public safety director. (AP Photo)
This is a 1970 photo of Mayor Joe Smitherman posing before the "Selma Welcomes You" sign he erected at the approach to the Pettus bridge in Selma, Ala., sight of violence during the 1965 voter registration drive. (AP Photo)
A driver displaying the confederate flag and painted racial slurs on his volkswagon car is halted along route 80 near Selma, Ala. to allow the marchers to pass on March 3, 1965. The civil rights marchers are on their second day of their walk to the state capitol of Montgomery, Ala., demanding voter registration rights for blacks. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. links arms with other civil rights leaders as they begin the march to the state capitol in Montgomery from Selma, Ala. on March 21, 1965. The demonstrators are marching for voter registration rights for blacks. Accompanying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (fourth from right), are on his left Ralph Bunche, undersecretary of the United Nations, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. They are wearing leis given by a Hawaiian group. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and his wife, Coretta Scott King, lead off the final lap to the state capitol at Montgomery, Ala., on March 25, 1965. Thousands of civil rights marchers joined in the walk, which began in Selma, Ala., on March 21, demanding voter registration rights for blacks. Rev. D.F. Reese, of Selma, is at right. (AP Photo)
Public Safety Director Wilson Baker, front center, stands with a line of uniformed city police as they block the way of demonstrators behind them who are attempting to march to the courthouse to demand voter registration rights for blacks in Selma, Ala. on March 13, 1965. Demonstrators on the street tried to push past police lines and when unsuccessful this group, mostly ministers, tried to march off in another direction where they were stopped again. (AP Photo)
The Venetian Gothic Hotel Albert, located in the center of town in Selma, Ala., is shown on Jan. 22, 1965. The hotel, built by slave labor a century ago, opened its doors this week for the first time to blacks. (AP Photo/Bill Hudson)
A federal marshal reads a court order halting a planned voter registration protest march at Selma, Ala., March 9, 1965. The order was read after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- standing behind fellow marcher Andrew Young who had his arms folded -- led about 2,000 persons from a church to a bridge over the Alabama River. The marchers were allowed to continue over the bridge but then were turned back. The other civil rights activists standing with King and Young are not identified. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King, fourth from right, waves as marchers stream across the Alabama River on the first of a five day, 50 mile march to the state capitol at Montgomery, Ala., on March 21, 1965. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who as a young civil rights leader was clubbed by police, won House approval on Tuesday May 14, 1996 of a bill designating the march route from Selma, Ala. to Montgomery a national historic trail. (AP Photo)
Martin Luther King Jr., speaks at a Selma, Ala., church in this January 1965 photo. A never-before-published speech given by King in Selma during a 1965 visit is included in "Ripples of Hope," a collection of 110 speeches from the 1780s to the 1990s, on topics from women's suffrage to gay rights. (AP Photo)
Thousands of civil rights supporters gather outside a chapel in Selma, Ala., on March 21, 1965, the start of a five-day, 50-mile march on the Alabama state Capitol at Montgomery. The march will be led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, who spoke at this church service preceding the march. Supporters of black voting rights will march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper and to improve voter registration for blacks, who are discouraged to register. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators in the 50-mile march on Alabama's state Capitol at Montgomery make their way along Route 80 after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge over Alabama River from Selma, Ala., on March 21, 1965. The five-day march, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is to protest Alabama's voting regulations for blacks. In the background beyond the bridge is the city of Selma. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., left, shakes hands with voter registration applicants waiting on a long line in Selma, Ala., on Feb. 16, 1965. At left is Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. (AP Photo)
In this 1965 black-and-white photo provided by the Library of Congress showing participants, some carrying American flags, marching in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (AP Photo/Peter Pettrus, Library of Congress)
Six Catholic nuns lead a short march in Selma, Ala., March 10, 1965. The group was within a hundred feet of a black church when the police blocked their way. (AP Photo)
Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Juanita Abernathy, wife of the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, are interviewed outside the jail at Selma, Ala., Feb. 5, 1965, following an unsuccessful attempt to visit their spouses who were jailed during voter registration demonstrations. At center is the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, also an integration leader. (AP Photo)
Hosea Williams, civil rights activist, tells demonstrators in Selma, Ala., that they will march to the courthouse "come hell or high water," Feb. 13, 1965. (AP Photo)
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