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Apple has decided to release the Will Smith/Antoine Fuqua film Emancipation in December. That is a good call.

Here is the description and the trailer.

An enslaved man embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with his family in this powerful film inspired by a true story. Emancipation, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Will Smith, premieres in theaters December 2, streaming on Apple TV+ December 9.

The thing about “cancel culture” is that there are those who pay a heavy price and those who don’t. It is just something people who exist in this world understand. The line is how compliant or non-compliant a person is. Ricky Gervais, Dave Chappelle, and anyone who pushes back against the ideology of the New Left is usually mostly sidelined from major cultural events. But if you did something like Will Smith – lost your cool after your wife was made fun of (mildly) at the Oscars, that isn’t considered a significant crime. It wasn’t a thought crime, which is much, much worse. Thought crimes mean something lives inside your mind and heart that is bad. That makes you more of an existential threat.

Will Smith is not considered an existential threat because he has not yet defied the Ordnung in any major way.  A thought crime would be, say, you voted for Trump or you were not vaccinated, or you did not wear a mask or you did not use preferred pronouns or you criticized “cancel culture.” All of those things are far more threatening than anything physical. That’s just how it works.

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In my own personal view, as someone staunchly opposed to “cancel culture” across the board, I would never have agreed to shunning Will Smith. Whatever consequence he is made to pay is, to my mind, the only punishment he should receive. Due process and all of that.

I think he’ll be great in the part. Right now, there are three contenders for Best Actor. I was intrigued by Greg Ellwood’s early predictions for Best Actor – he has only two strong contenders at the moment, Austin Butler for Elvis (whom I believe is the frontrunner) and Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inershirin.

He then has a subsequent list that looks like this:


Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Austin Butler, “Elvis”


Bill Nighy, “Living”
Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Banshees of Inisherin”**
Tom Cruise, “Top Gun: Maverick”
Jeremy Pope, “The Inspection”
Song Kang-ho, “Broker”
Gabriel LaBelle, “The Fabelmans”


Tom Hanks, “A Man Called Otto”*
Adam Sandler, “Hustle”
Hugh Jackman, “The Son”
Christian Bale, “Amsterdam”
Brad Pitt, “Babylon”*
Diego Calva, “Babylon”*
Adam Driver, “White Noise”


Michael Ward, “Empire of Light”
Daniel Craig, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

What intrigued me about this is that he doesn’t have Brendan Fraser as in the top tier and most other pundits do. Either way — space will have to be made for Will Smith who will no doubt knock it out of the park in this film. Thus, it will likely look something like this:

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Austin Butler, Elvis
Will Smith, Emancipation
Colin Farrell, Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale

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Then, the last slot will be competitive. Diego Calva for Babylon, Driver for White Noise. Tom Cruise would be a  great choice and a major get, dragging the Academy somewhat back into the mainstream. But I guess we’ll have to see how it goes.


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