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Will Smith is already getting Oscar buzz for his upcoming slavery film Emancipation

Rachel Lang

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Will Smith is already getting Oscar buzz for his upcoming slavery film Emancipation

People reckon Will Smith could be in the running for the Best Actor award at next year's Oscars after the trailer dropped for his next big movie.

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Despite being banned from the Academy Awards for the next 10 years, viewers say Emancipation could be as big as his role in King Richard when it drops on Apple TV on December 9.

The project had initially been pushed back following Smith's Oscars slap scandal earlier this year, where the 54-year-old star struck host Chris Rock across the face in the wake of a disparaging joke about Smith's wife.

Emancipation is based on the true story of a black slave (played by Smith in the film) who escapes from a Louisiana plantation in the 1860s to travel north to take up arms in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

The gritty role is an interesting choice for Smith, who had previously turned down the lead role in Django Unchained as he didn't want to be associated with a film about slavery.

He told GQ in 2021 that he would rather take up roles that 'depict Black excellence', and therefore turned down the Tarantino film.

"This was one that was about love and the power of Black love and that was something that I could rock with," Smith told The Guardian about Emancipation.

"We were going to make a story about how Black love makes us invincible."

Oh, how things can change.

But one thing is for certain; if Smith gets nominated or takes out the top gong at next year's Oscars, he definitely won't be there to receive it in person.

The Academy ruled in April that Smith will be prevented from attending the glitzy ceremony for a decade due to the on-stage fracas with Rock in the moments before he won Best Actor for his film King Richard.

But now Apple TV has performed a u-turn by bringing Emancipation to screens in December, meaning that Smith will make the cut-off date for nominations for the 2023 Academy Awards.

The update is likely welcome news for the film's director Antoine Fuqua.

The Emancipation director heaped praise on Smith despite the Oscars moment seeing his own film pushed back. 

"Will Smith is a great guy," Fuqua told Deadline.

"I was with him for a couple of years, making this movie. He is a wonderful person, an amazing partner and he did an amazing job on this movie."

Fuqua went on to add in his two cent's worth about Chris Rock and the slap that rocked the 2022 Oscars.

"Chris Rock’s a good guy, I know Chris as well … and I just pray it works out for them as friends, and we can move forward," he said.

Smith has since apologised to Chris Rock via a video message on his YouTube channel.

Featured Image Credit: Apple TV+.

Topics: Will Smith, Celebrity, TV and Film, Oscars, US News

Rachel Lang
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