Golden Globes: 'Selma's' Ava DuVernay Becomes First Black Woman to Receive Director Nomination

Ava Duvernay - H 2014
AP Images

Ava Duvernay - H 2014

"She's made a little bit of history. It's so wonderful," says star David Oyelowo

Ava DuVernay, who directed Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma, became the first black female to be nominated for a best director Golden Globe on Thursday.

But DuVernay, 42, says that on the morning of the nominations, she was focused on just one thing: hoping for a nomination for her star, David Oyelowo.

“All I was thinking in my heart, truly, was 'Please just David, just David,' " she told THR. "This man put every ounce of his heart and spirit and mind, every piece of his DNA into this picture. That's all I wanted."

Oyelowo, who was in Toronto with DuVernay on the morning of the nominations, did receive a nom for best actor, drama. And the Paramount film, about the civil rights marches of Selma, Alabama, received a nomination for best picture, drama.

But it's DuVernay's own nomination for best director that is unprecedented. Only two other African-Americans, both male, have been nominated in the best director category at the Globes: Spike Lee in 1990 for Do The Right Thing and Steve McQueen in 2014 for 12 Years a Slave.

"She's the first black woman to be nominated for best director. She's made a little bit of history. It's so wonderful," Oyelowo told THR the morning of the nominations. "I'm so proud of her. She's only been doing this for five years; this is her third movie. It's a big moment for her."

In 2012, DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win the best director prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film, Middle of Nowhere. If she's nominated for an Oscar for best director, she would be the first black female to receive that honor as well.

"This movie wouldn't exist without her," said Plan B producer Dede Gardner of DuVernay. "She's in every frame of the movie. Every choice — casting, music, the quiet in the film, the fret, the worry, the joy — that alchemy is hers."

Selma, opening wide on Jan. 9, received a total of four nominations.