Oscar Watch: Harriet

Harriet has been a circled possibility for Oscar attention since the project was announced and it’s now screened in Toronto. The biopic of abolitionist Harriet Tubman is from director Kasi Lemmons, whose debut Eve’s Bayou garnered acclaim over two decades ago. Cynthia Erivo, who received her own critical kudos in last year’s Widows, plays the heroic title character. The supporting cast includes Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, and Janelle Monae.

A first glance at the current 91% Rotten Tomatoes score indicates it might be the Best Picture contender it was anticipated to be. Yet a deeper dive shows even the mostly positive reviews have significant reservations. Few writers are calling it great and there’s more using words like standard.

Erivo still has a major chance at a Best Actress nod, though I don’t think it’s guaranteed. Critics have singled out her work. That’s probably the extent of acting notices at the Oscars and I’m now relatively confident Best Picture will be elusive. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

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