"SELMA" director Ava DuVernay doesn't believe the hype, because she spent a lot of time in the hype business.
Mention the four Golden Globe nominations for "Selma," the likelihood of history-making Oscar nominations next week (she may be the first female black director to get one), and she shrugs.
"I feel like I know what this is," said DuVernay, who worked as a Hollywood publicist before embarking on a career as an independent filmmaker (she has two previous credits, "Middle of Nowhere," just out on video, and "I Will Follow").
"I remember being with clients, being with people who had films to promote and they really thought this was all about them. They started to get into the hype of where they were staying, people calling their name on the red carpet, all that stuff, not realizing it's all a construct of the business, and it exists to sell a movie."
Isn't that a little harsh, I ask?
DuVernay answers with a question of her own.
"Can you tell me who won best supporting actor two years ago?
Not without Google.
"It's the films that matter. It's the films that last." DuVernay said.
The nominations, she adds, are important only insofar as they get people into theaters.
"Those accolades are a way of getting people to see the movie and for me as a black filmmaker who really started in this business to make small films that nobody saw - and I was fine with that - to be in a place where a lot of people are in a position to see this movie is a very exciting thing to me" said DuVernay, who added she never believed she'd author a movie that would be released nationally, on 2,000 screens, as will happen today with "Selma," her take on the calculated planning by Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in advance of the historic 1965 Selma voting-rights marches.
On the subject of authorship - when DuVernay was crafting speeches for King, she had to write them from scratch. The rights to his speeches are copyrighted and belong to another filmmaker, so DuVernay spent months reading King's work and channeling his thinking.
What she discovered, she says, was a King far more radical than most folks know from his inherited image.
"It's incredible. He talks about 'The Vicious Lie,' this idea that racism is ceded from powerful white men to less powerful white men, to placate them, to take their eye off the ball, to lay the blame for larger failures by pointing to those black people over there," she said.
"When we think of King, we remember the flowery language, but once I really started to analyze what he was saying, I started to understand him in a much deeper way. His oratory was so beautiful, sometimes we could be lulled into not listening to what he was saying."
That's all brought to bear in "Selma," which portrays King as a man who preached and observed nonviolence, but shrewdly anticipated that violent acts by racist whites would aid his cause, and chose Selma because its belligerent police force could be counted on to overreact.
"The complexity of the strategy has been homogenized down to 'I have a dream,' and a man who believed in peace, and that's all most Americans really know.