By John H. Foote
When Will Smith famously slapped Chris Rock in the face at the Academy Awards last year, he did more damage to his career than he realized at the time. Banned from attending the Oscars for ten years, banned from Academy events, and the object of public ridicule, Smith did publicly apologize to Rock and the Academy, but the damage was done.
How great a film then is Emancipation if Apple is now going to release it this fall/winter season? It must be great if they are going to risk a release. Some critics have screened the film and say it is. In fact, comments have come through saying Smith could win another Oscar for the film. That is permitted, he can be nominated, but he could not attend to pick up his award.
Films about slavery have done well with the Academy and the trailer looks impressive.
And come on, Smith is an excellent actor, if a little entitled.
OK, a lot entitled, he and his wife sat front and centre at the Academy Awards as though they were being crowned the King and Queen of Hollywood. They were not, but he did win the Oscar for his powerful performance in King Richard (2021).
Could he win two in a row? Anything is possible but I do think it will take longer than this to see him forgiven.
That said you never know.
He is a major world box office star, and that does not get easily forgotten. Like Smith or not, he just leaped into the race for best Actor.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.