By Anjelica Oswald
Justin Simien’s feature debut Dear White People is a satirical comedy that deals with intra- and interrace relations at a fictional Ivy League university after a group of white students throw a “black-themed” party. The film — which has been critically acclaimed and holds a 97% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes — opened this weekend in limited release, receiving an average of $31,273 from 11 theaters. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival and won a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at the festival. Simien, who wrote and directed the film, used to work on studio publicity and is now getting his own Oscar campaign from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions, the distributors for Dear White People. The film covers social issues that people often choose not to acknowledge and does so in a smart, humorous way. Though these types of films may cover topics the Academy is often wary of, screenwriters tend to embrace these topics, and Simien may have his strongest shot at his first Oscar nomination for best original screenplay.