Heavyweight Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival revealed an impressive slate of releases starring black actors, including Idris Elba, Forest Whitaker and Michael B. Jordan, according to New York magazine. Could Weinstein push all three men into the history-making best actor category?
We haven’t had more than one black nominee for Best Actor since 2006, when Whitaker and Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) faced off; Whitaker took home the Oscar that year for The Last King of Scotland. He’s back in the mix this year for the Weinstein-produced The Butler, an era-spanning drama from director Lee Daniels (Precious) that casts Whitaker as a butler who served several presidents while butting heads with his fiery activist son (David Oyelowo). And then there’s Fruitvale Station, a Sundance hit that also bowed this week at Cannes. Based on a true story, the film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant, a young man killed in a controversial, racially tinged 2009 shooting. Weinstein brought Jordan and young director Ryan Coogler out onstage with him today, joking, “I told them that if the French booed, I would disassociate myself from the film instantly”; he needn’t have worried, as the Cannes screening was through the roof.
The trailers for those two movies are already online, but earlier, Weinstein also showed off a teaser for his new pickup Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba as the African president-to-be Nelson Mandela. “This is not your daddy’s HBO version of Mandela,” noted Weinstein. “This is the kick-ass Mandela.” Indeed, when the ultra-buff Elba shed his shirt and assumed a fighter’s stance in the trailer, we were definitely seeing a brand-new, unexpected side of a famous figure: Mandela as hunky action hero.
Read more at New York magazine.