Oscar season is about to kick off. Emancipation, the new film by Will Smith and directed by Antoine Fuqua, is already among the favorites.
The promotional tour for Emancipation, the new film by Will Smith expected on December 9 on Apple TV+, has started in Los Angeles. The Oscar-winning actor made his first public outing since the infamous Oscar slap and walked the red carpet at a screening of the movie Apple.
On the red carpet, Will Smith – with family – was cheered on by the crowd of photographers and took the time to respond to each media outlet, reports us The Hollywood Reporter. Although director Antoine Fuqua was absent – he’s currently in Italy filming Equalizer 3 with Denzel Washington – Smith was joined by the film’s crew, including Ben Foster, Charmaine Bingwa, Ronnie Gene Blevins and more.
Based on a true story, Emancipation follows Peter played by Will Smith, who runs away from his plantation in search of his family, outmaneuvering cold-blooded hunters and surviving in the swamps of Louisiana. Peter eventually enlists in the Union Army. During a medical examination, her bare back, which bears the scars of a whipping inflicted by the overseer of her former plantation, is photographed. The Independent newspaper publishes the photo, proving in no doubt the cruelty and barbarity of slavery in America.
“When I decided to make this film, I imagined the role it could play in today’s conversation. I thought this would be a necessary reminder of some of the roads we’ve taken as a country in the past to potentially avoid going down a similar path again.“, the actor tells The Hollywood Reporter. “To have a film like this at this time for me, and even at this time in my life, is poetic perfection“.
Although he has long spoken of his desire to avoid films about slavery, Smith thinks of Emancipation as a film about freedom. “It’s a film about emancipation. I got to know Peter and understand some of his experiences and how he was able to hold faith in the midst of the greatest atrocities imaginable… That’s what drew me to Peter, and I wanted to be able to study, learn and know how to do it myself.“
“This project was a monstrously difficult film to make. It was supposed to take three months, and one act of God after another it took seven. And the Apple team never flinched, not once“, says Will Smith.
The race for the Oscars
The film will be released in select theaters on December 2 in the United States, before streaming on Apple TV+ on December 9. As the film’s fate was called into question following the Oscars in March – following Will Smith’s slap in the face to Chris Rock after he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith – Apple and the producers decided to go ahead with the film’s release.
A support campaign for the actor is set up on the occasion of various screenings of the film attended by personalities such as Rihanna, Tyler Perry or Dave Chappelle. Meetings are also organized with the public. Tyler Perry participated with Will Smith in another screening. This one took place in Atlanta and presented at “our new generation of filmmakers“, according to Smith, speaking of students at Morehouse College, Spellman College and Clark Atlanta University.
On the press side, the promotional tour of Emancipation accelerated for Will Smith this week, first with two interviews including Trevor Noah on The Daily Show for his longest interview after the Oscars. Looking back on the evening of March 27, Will Smith said it was a “horrible night“, despite his victory in the best actor category for The Method Williams.
After slapping Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards, Will Smith resigned from the Academy and was banned from attending the ceremony or other Academy-sponsored events for 10 years. However, this does not prevent the winner of the best actor of The Method Williams from being nominated or even winning another statuette during this period. That shouldn’t stop Antoine Fuqua’s film from being considered for awards, either.
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Slap or not, Will Smith is in the running for the Oscars