Directed By: Tate Taylor
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, David Andrew Nash, Nelsan Ellis, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Dan Aykroyd, Jill Scott, Tika Sumpter, Craig Robinson
Synopsis: A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.
Why It Could Succeed:
On paper, this project sounds really exciting. It’s a movie about one of the biggest musicians in history, stars a combination of veteran actors and has an up and comer as its star, with a director whose last film was nominated for Best Picture. Get On Up has a chance to be successful because those elements can easily translate to an audience and easier viewing than other Oscar players. We’ve seen time and time again that if a film is well liked it stands a better chance of getting a nomination than one that is extremely loved and hated in equal measure. Also, biopics are their favorite genre and this movie should find many notable comparisons to Ray, something that could help the film.
The cast will be the biggest selling point for the film. I’m intrigued by the reteaming of The Help duo Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and excited to see what 42 star Chadwick Boseman has up his sleeve playing James Brown.
Why It Won’t Succeed:
Despite being a decent project on paper, if the first trailer is anything to go by, this movie might not elevate itself beyond its elements. Just because you have Oscar nominees in the cast, are a biopic, and have fun music isn’t gonna assure you a Best Picture spot, especially if the finale product comes out as bland and template biopic as that trailer made the movie seem.
In addition, though the movie could get some residual Ray love, that movie had an awards magnet and Oscar winning turn from Jamie Foxx at the center to carry it through the season, along with a ton of uber respected actors and a veteran director (and eventual DGA president) at the helm. As much as I enjoyed The Help, Tate Taylor failed to garner Best Director or Adapted Screenplay nods and it will be tough goings for the film unless there’s some major above the line element that voters can latch onto.
I’m not particularly high on this film so I don’t see it being a big contender in much more than a few categories.
Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)…if, and only if, the movie is a critical hit
Best Production Design
Best Sound Mixing