On Tuesday Will Smith received his third and fourth Oscar nominations for his performance in King Richard and for being one of the producers. On Wednesday he was promoting the new Fresh Prince reboot series BEL-AIR. Will, Jada, and Jaden were at the premiere last night.
It’s been 15 years since Will’s last nomination for The Pursuit of Happyness in 2007. It’s been six years since he and Jada boycotted the Oscars for #OscarsSoWhite. And now he’s returning to the Oscars with a film that has six total nominations. That’s the reason, Will told the New York Times, that compared to his previous two nominations, this one is different:
“This one is really different. It’s one thing to be singularly nominated. And it’s another thing when it’s the entire group, the film. It’s just a different thing. This could have been a much smaller story. But the audience recognizing the universal gifts and power of the ideas in this film, it is beautifully uplifting and inspiring for me.”
And the result could be different too. King Richard, with its six nominations, isn’t the strongest Best Picture contender given how many The Power of the Dog and Dune are leading with, but it’s definitely in the upper half of the pack, and it strengthens Will’s case in the Best Actor category given that the Academy clearly responded positively to the film. Of the ten Best Picture nominees, in fact, only The Power of the Dog and King Richard have actors contending in the *lead* actor categories with Benedict Cumberbatch nominated alongside Will. So this really could be a year where the Oscars are spread out, with Best Picture and Best Director not going to the same film, and other categories following similarly.
According to the Oscar experts, Will is looking like the favourite right now. But it’s not a big lead. And voting doesn’t even start until over a month from now. That’s a lot of time for the landscape to change, and a lot of time to campaign, if Will actually gets out there to do it. Will he? What is the right campaign strategy for someone like Will Smith who’s been in the business so long, who is so well-known, who is for sure part of the Hollywood structure but not necessarily in the Academy’s inner circle? And what are the next few weeks of Red Table Talk going to look like?
Yours in gossip,