Actor David Oyelowo, who failed to receive an Oscar nomination for his work as Martin Luther King in Selma, says there’s a simple reason why he was overlooked: The Academy doesn’t reward blacks in positions of power onscreen.

“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 in the center of our own narrative, driving forward,” Oyelowo said at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Sunday. He continued, saying that over the years, there have been a number of deserving black actors in powerful roles that went unrewarded by the Academy.

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