There are several truth-based, modern-day dramas that could figure in the Oscar race that delve into incidents of corruption, scandal, illegal actions and racism. They include “The Laundromat,” about the so-called Panama Papers that exposed an off-shore tax scheme used by powerful world leaders; “The Report,” about the investigation into the CIA’s use of torture post-9/11; and “Dark Waters,” about an attorney who dedicated himself to investigating the ties between a string of deaths and the DuPont chemical company.
But the new trailer for “Just Mercy,” which opens Dec. 25, just might resonate the most, both emotionally and topically, given its harrowing plunge into a prejudiced justice system that denies legal rights to those who don’t have the means to fight a blatantly wrongful accusation. It also just happens to star Killmonger, Captain Marvel and Electro, otherwise known as Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx.
Jordan plays Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard Law grad who heads to Alabama to fight for those who are wrongfully condemned and are denied proper representation. He meets Walter McMillian (Foxx), who receives a death sentence for the murder of a young girl when he was nowhere near the scene of the crime at the time. A local activist (Larson) joins the determined lawyer to overturn the wrongful ruling.
As seen in the trailer, Stevenson and McMillian don’t exactly see eye to eye initially as the attorney asks him why he is behind bars. The Death Row dweller tells him, “You don’t know what you into down here in Alabama. When you’re guilty from the moment you born.” Instead of giving up, Stevenson doubles down as he travels to Alabama to do interviews and build his case to save him. The cast includes Tim Blake Nelson, Rob Morgan, Rafe Spall and O’Shea Jackson.
“If we can look at ourself closely, we can change this world for the better. We all need grace. We all need mercy,” says Stevenson, whose best-selling memoir is the basis for the film.
The movie, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, is currently ranked at No. 16 among the Best Picture contenders on Gold Derby’s combined odds. Jordan is sitting at No. 9 among the lead actors on the list and Foxx, who won a lead Oscar for the 2004 biopic “Ray,” is also No. 9 among supporting actor possibilities. The title also is coming on strong among the adapted screenplays, ranked at No. 8.
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.