One of the judges from the Academy who saw the film explained why she voted no, and said there was "no art to it." The cast of the film then shows up with "I can't breathe" t-shirts on. Insanity on both ends. More here: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/oscar-voter-casts-new-drama-selma-snubs-article-1.2120060
There's a greater point being missed here and it makes me insane that Hollywood higher-ups like Oprah Winfrey don't champion it more.
The Oscar win for an actress/actor of any NON-WHITE race (there's too much focus on this being a white vs black thing -- there are actors of other races too, you know) must count for more than just their having won because of their skin colour, or even for their performance -- at this point what needs the most stressing is the type of stories these artists are involved in telling. Too often, the most high-profile "black wins" are about the same story of struggle against a white establishment, or slavery, or the results of slavery. Their winning for these roles is almost like a pat on the head for holding up the standard of keeping oppressed minority talking only about their oppression. There are love stories, heroism stories, science fiction and crime thriller stories and all the rest of it, that could be made with more actresses and actors of colour, and be just as successful as their white counterparts. If they won for that, then it's a real triumph, because finally it's a sign of moving forward. Eddie Murphy said at the Oscars in 1988 that he wanted blacks to be recognised as people on and off screen, that this was key, and he's right. People in all their colours, dimensions, abilities, struggles, joys, woven into film with imagination, is what film is about. Show that. Award that. Don't keep awarding (or snubbing) slave and civil rights films and have the audacity to say "look how far they/we have come".