Apple Might Still Release Will Smith’s New Movie For Next Year’s Oscar Race

The sting of Will Smith’s Oscars slap is perhaps fading shortly sufficient for the actor to make one other bid for glory at subsequent yr’s ceremony.

Because the “King Richard” star continues to navigate the fallout from his assault on comic Chris Rock on the Academy Awards, The New York Occasions stories that Apple remains to be contemplating releasing his subsequent movie “Emancipation” by the tip of the yr so it may be eligible for the upcoming awards season.

Smith wrapped filming on the upcoming Civil Struggle epic from “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua, which the corporate acquired for a record-breaking $120 million a month earlier than the Oscars incident.

Whereas earlier stories claimed the movie’s launch had been delayed till 2023, the Occasions revealed that there have “been discussions inside Apple to release ‘Emancipation’ by the end of the year, which would make it eligible for awards consideration,” citing three nameless sources concerned with the movie.

Other than the hefty price ticket, the studio is reportedly satisfied the movie may nonetheless be an awards contender, given what the Occasions’ sources referred to as the “overwhelmingly positive” reactions in early screenings, particularly surrounding Smith’s “volcanic” efficiency. In a suggestions session after the movie, viewers members mentioned they have been “not turned off” by the actor’s outburst on the Academy Awards.

“Emancipation” stars Smith as Peter, a runaway slave who escapes a Louisiana plantation and journeys north, the place he ultimately joins the Union Military through the Civil Struggle. The movie is impressed by real-life pictures, together with one generally known as “The Scourged Back,” which exhibits a person’s whipping scars throughout a medical examination. The picture was extensively circulated after showing in a Harper’s Weekly article revealed in 1863 and helped expose the reality concerning the brutality of slavery all over the world.

Fuqua has described the mission as “the best thing I’ve ever done” and expressed his need for “audiences to see the truth and be inspired by it.”

However the slap continues to loom massive over something in Smith’s orbit, regardless of his most up-to-date public apology.

“Regardless of the quality of the movie, all of the press, all the reviewers, all of the feature writers, all the awards prognosticators are going to be looking at it and talking about the slap,” former co-chief govt of Fox Searchlight Stephen Gilula advised the Occasions. “There’s a very high risk that the film will not get judged on its pure merit. It puts it into a very untenable context.”

After slapping Rock, Smith resigned as a member of the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences and has been banned from attending the Oscars for the subsequent decade. Nonetheless, he can nonetheless be nominated for an award, ought to members of the academy discover any of his future performances worthy.

In his apology video launched in July, Smith pledged to make amends to these he’d harm together with his conduct.

“I am deeply devoted and committed to putting light and love and joy into the world,” he mentioned. “And, you know, if you hang on, I promise we’ll be able to be friends again.”