There are a list of traits a movie can have that people who give out shiny little awards tend to love. So, naturally, there have come to be movies that try to embody as many of these traits as possible, in order to get the attention of the people who have the shiny little awards they want. The term is “Oscar bait,” and though falling into the category doesn’t necessarily mean that a movie is going to be bad (on the contrary, often they’re quite good), or that the people telling the story didn’t also want to do so for genuine reasons, you know it when you see it.
Seeing as it’s a historical drama, it deals with issues of race, it covers the ups and downs of the life of an iconic figure who suffered immensely, and it seems to feature a showy lead performance from a well-respected actor (Idris Elba), director Justin Chadwick’s (The Other Boleyn Girl) upcoming Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is just about the biggest piece of Oscar bait that’s come down the pike in a long time. But seeing as Nelson Mandela’s life makes for such a captivating story, and Elba is such a strong actor, it looks like it’s also probably going to be a pretty dang good movie. Now that a full-length trailer has dropped, you should probably take the opportunity to give it a look and see what the film has to offer for yourself.
Elba got a lot of attention for his work in The Wire, and he even won a couple of awards for his work as the star of the BBC’s Luther, but he’s an actor who has yet to get much of a chance to show film audiences what he can really do. What do you think? Does it seem like the work he’s doing in this trailer is going to be enough to get him some recognition come awards season? Or is it more likely that his “canceling the apocalypse” speech from Pacific Rim is going to be the Oscar clip we see played for years to come? Now I’m just thinking about how much easier Mandela’s life would have been if he had access to a jaeger…
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is due to open in November.