As mentioned earlier, Fences, directed by and starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, screened for Oscar, SAG, and media voters this weekend. Reviews are embargoed until December. But according to Variety and Deadline, reaction was mega positive across the board, and the ovation was intense, particularly for Viola Davis. Viola has seen the film and has agreed with the studio that her performance should be submitted in the Best Supporting Actress category. Which basically means she’s a lock. Like a slam dunk, no jinx.
As for Denzel, he told the audience that he deliberately wanted to tackle the play as a play first, before turning it into a film. Per Variety, “when producer Scott Rudin first sent him the script for the film, which (August) Wilson had penned himself, Washington wasn’t interested in diving into it as a movie immediately. He wanted to work through the material on the stage first, which led to Rudin raising the money for the 2010 Broadway revival”. Come on. That has to score some major bonus points with actors and such who get hard over “craft” and honouring material.
So Denzel is now officially a contender. Which is great. Because at the moment, if there’s a frontrunner for Best Actor, it’s Casey Affleck, the Problematic Nominee, for Manchester By The Sea. He’s got his brother in his corner and Matt Damon will do everything he can but in Denzel Washington we’re looking at a possible three time winner. If he wins he would join Ingrid Bergman, Walter Brennan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Katharine Hepburn, Jack Nicholson, and the Streep in a very, very exclusive club. Works for me. You?
Here's Denzel at the Hamilton Behind The Camera Awards in LA last night.