Will Smith rather notoriously won his first Best Actor Oscar last year for King Richard. His victory was not a surprise. Smith’s onstage slap of Chris Rock approximately 30 minutes before he received the gold statue was.
The superstar actor’s career has taken a hit since with some canceled or delayed projects. It has not altered the release of Emancipation. The historical action drama casts Smith as slave Whipped Peter, whose Civil War era photograph has become an iconic image. Antoine Fuqua, best known for shoot-em-ups like Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer pics, directs. The supporting cast includes Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Steven Ogg, Mustafa Shakir, and Timothy Hutton.
Emancipation is out in limited fashion tomorrow prior to a December 9th streaming rollout on Apple TV (they paid a whopping $130 million for the rights). The Rotten Tomatoes score is a mixed 63%.
There is praise for the performances, including Smith. An early consensus is that the action works better than some of the dramatic elements. Bottom line: this doesn’t sound line much of an awards contender whether there had been The Slap or no slap. One exception could be Robert Richardson’s cinematography. He’s a three-time winner for JFK, The Aviator, and Hugo. Richardson won’t get a fourth podium trip, but making the cut isn’t out of the question. My Oscar Prediction posts will continue…