Focus Features has released a trailer for the upcoming film “Loving” (watch it above). The docudrama tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving (played in the film by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who fought for the right to be married during the Civil Rights Movement, culminating in the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case in 1967 that won interracial marriage rights across the country.
Heroic true stories are often catnip to Oscar voters, and several civil rights-themed dramas have been nominated for Best Picture in the past, including “Selma” (2014), “The Help” (2011) and “Mississippi Burning” (1988). Fights against oppression also distinguished nominees such as “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013), “Django Unchained” (2012), “Milk” (2008), and “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), not to mention Best Picture champs “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Crash” (2005).
“Loving” is directed by Jeff Nichols, who has yet to contend for an Oscar. However, in less than a decade he has developed an impressive track record. All of his four previous films have been widely acclaimed: “Shotgun Stories” (2007), “Take Shelter” (2011) and “Mud” (2013) all earned nominations at the Spirit Awards — he and his “Mud” cast shared the Robert Altman Award. “Take Shelter” was also an award-winner at the Cannes Film Festival, where “Mud” and “Loving” later competed for the top prize, the Palme d’Or. His most recent film, the cerebral sci-fi yarn “Midnight Special,” opened this past spring to glowing reviews.
“Loving” was a critical smash when it debuted at Cannes, and it comes amid continued debate over the lack of diversity at the Oscars, the motion picture academy and the film industry at large; the acting nominees have been all white for the last two years. Negga’s performance in “Loving” has been particularly singled out for praise; she’d be the first woman of color to be nominated for Best Actress since Quevenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) in 2012.
Edgerton may also be a strong contender for Best Actor. It would be his first nomination, but he has already made a name for himself in a number of Oscar-contending films, including “Animal Kingdom,” “Warrior,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Great Gatsby” and “Black Mass.”
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