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Awards Profile 2020: ‘Da 5 Bloods’ from Netflix


Welcome to the 2020 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material. Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profiles.”

FILM: “Da 5 Bloods″

PRODUCERS: Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Beatriz Levin, Lloyd Levin
WRITER(S): Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott
CAST: Chadwick Boseman, Paul Walter Hauser, Norm Lewis, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors

SYNOPSIS: A group of veterans from the Vietnam War return to the jungle to find their lost innocence. (IMDB)




After decades of being under-recognized by the Academy, celebrated filmmaker Spike Lee finally won his first Oscar for the screenplay of 2018’s “BlacKkKlansman.” For his follow-up “Da 5 Bloods,” expectations are high for Lee to remain in the Academy’s good graces. The film stars Chadwick Boseman in a war drama about a quartet of African-American Vietnam War veterans who are forced to confront the horrors of war as they search for the remains of fellow soldier. With a rescue mission of sorts at the center of its narrative, the film brings to mind previous Oscar darlings “Saving Private Ryan” and “1917,” which certainly bodes well for its awards prospects.

Pending strong reviews, this war epic could therefore prove undeniable in the several categories often associated with the genre, particularly for the aural aspects of Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, which will be crafted by former Oscar nominees. Lee could also be in contention for his direction and screenplay, which will surely include his trademark social commentary to bring the requisite gravitas. Meanwhile, the talented cast features several rising stars – Chadwick Boseman, Paul Walter Hauser and Jonathan Majors – who are primed for an major awards breakthrough.

A few seasons ago, Netflix’s involvement would have been cause for concern. But after leading the nominations at the most recent Oscars, the anti-Netflix bias seems to have subsided. With their support, the sky is the limit for “Da 5 Bloods”.


spike oscar

For every “Marriage Story” or “The Irishman”, there are countless films which seemingly get dumped on Netflix with little promotion. Though Spike Lee is a big name, a buzzier title could easily come along and steal its thunder. Lee could face stiff competition from new works by David Fincher and Ron Howard, among others.

While the premise sounds promising, its genre is relatively out of the comfort zone for Lee, who is more known for his social dramas. His last attempt at a war movie – “Miracle at St. Anna” – garnered some of the worst reviews of his career. And as similar efforts by Ang Lee (“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”), and Richard Linklater (“Last Flag Flying”) have proven, war-related dramas can be risky endeavors.


  • Motion Picture (Jon Kilik, Spike Lee, Beatriz Levin, Lloyd Levin)
  • Director (Spike Lee)
  • Actor in a Leading Role (Chadwick Boseman)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Jonathan Majors, Paul Walter Hauser)
  • Original Screenplay (Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott)
  • Production Design (Jeremy Woolsey, Jeanette Scott)
  • Cinematography (Newton Thomas Sigel)
  • Film Editing (Adam Gough)
  • Original Score ( Terence Blanchard)
  • Sound Mixing (José Antonio García, Paul Hsu)
  • Sound Editing (Philip Stockton)


  • Best Performance by a Cast (SAG Awards): In recent years, the SAG Ensemble prize has been a consistent champion of diversity within the industry, culminating in a historic win for South Korea’s “Parasite” this year. With the film’s pedigree, a notice here could put the film in a prime position for awards season success.

Are you excited for Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods?” Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Written by Shane Slater

Shane is a passionate cinephile and Tomatometer-approved film critic residing in Kingston, Jamaica. When he's not watching or writing about film, he spends much of his time wishing he lived in a big city. Shane is an avid world traveler and loves attending film festivals. He is a member of the African-American Film Critics Association.


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