Will Smith’s “Powerful Emancipation” Trailer Arrives as Apple TV+ Movie aims for Awards Season


The last Academy Awards ceremony was quite stormy for Will Smith. The actor made headlines for hitting Chris Rock live on the Oscar stage, but he also won the Oscar for Best Actor that night. Will Smith won’t be at the Academy Awards next year in person, but it’s possible he’ll still be there in spirit, as his next film, Emancipation, will be eligible for a nomination.

The exact fate of the new film directed by Antoine Fuqua remained unclear for several months. Although the film was expected to be an award contender, it was never given an official release date either in theaters or on Apple TV+, so we didn’t know if it would actually be released this year or not. However, now we know that “Emancipation” will be released on December 2, and then on Apple TV+ on December 9. The news came along with the first trailer of the film, which you can watch above.

Emancipation follows the character of Will Smith, a runaway slave who tries to make his way north to reunite with his family and gain freedom. Of course, this is a powerful emotional trailer. This definitely looks like the kind of movie we expect to be a success with awards season voters.

Given that many of Will Smith’s other film projects were put on hold after this year’s Oscars, it’s no surprise that Apple isn’t sure how best to handle the release of “Emancipation.” According to preliminary data, the film is really good, but I wonder what kind of reaction it will get at the Academy simply because it is a Will Smith film, shot a year after “slap in the face.”

If Will Smith’s performance in “Emancipation” is great, and judging by this trailer, it may well be possible to talk about her in the race for best actor. Of course, this conversation is getting tougher now. Nominating Smith a year after he slapped someone on the show would be a controversial move.

If he wins, it will become even more controversial considering he has been banned from attending the Oscars ceremony for the next decade, so he won’t even be there to accept the award or give a speech. Having said that, while the nomination might have been at least possible under other circumstances, it now seems almost impossible.

At the same time, great films are not shot in a vacuum, and there are dozens of other people who could potentially be worthy of consideration for awards in Emancipation, not the least of which is director Antoine Fuqua. The release of the film in December gives Fuqua and everyone else a chance to get recognition for their work, and this change will not be diminished due to any issues between the Academy and Smith.


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