Apple is seriously ruining its big game for the Oscars

The fact that Apple wants to win more Oscars with director Antoine Fuqua’s historical action drama liberation It’s as obvious as the fact that the Academy probably won’t reward the movie for how heavily featured in lead actor Will Smith’s story. After the slap, the cards are immediately stacked against liberation for making such a big splash in this year’s awards season. But in the past weeks, up until the movie’s release last Friday, it has consistently felt like this: liberation‘s creative team is actively working on whatever the project has a chance to follow. codaSteps Apple takes to grab more Oscar statues.

though most liberationIt is based on the life of a Black man named Gordon, who escaped slavery in 1863, joined the Union Army, and became a symbol of the inhuman, cruel treatment Blacks endured under slavery. As is often the case in surviving Black narratives into the late 19th century, many details of who Gordon was have vanished into history. However, Gordon became well known in Civil War-era abolitionist circles after photos of his severely injured back were published. Harper’s Weekly as a rebuttal to the common defense of slavery, which holds that enslaved people are treated well by the people who possess them.

Because there’s a lot we don’t know about the real Gordon. liberation She takes some liberties as she pursues Peter (Smith) – a fictionalized version of the man whose name is a nod to the nickname “Whipped Peter” given to him. — to war. But the way liberation Attempting to capitalize on Haiti’s well-documented history of the abolition of slavery has recently put the film in unexpected hot water, and it feels like it reflects an even deeper misguided quality to the whole effort.

It’s perfectly normal for dramatic period films to massage certain details for good storytelling. But this week, Haiti’s ambassador to the US, Bocchit Edmond, denounced it. liberation “For failing to accurately reflect the epic, valiant, unprecedented and definitive contribution of the Republic of Haiti to the cause of freedom in the face of the cruel and inhumane system of movable slavery.”

In a long open letter Posted on Twitter on TuesdayEdmond explained that although he did not intend to “get into polemics with the screenwriter, director, or producer of the film,” he felt the need to draw attention to historical inaccuracy. liberation‘s depiction of Peter as a Haitian born into slavery at a time when the practice had been virtually banned in the country for decades.

“The Embassy of the Republic of Haiti fully respects the principle of artistic freedom,” Edmond wrote. “However, some historical epochs are so great that they deserve the utmost accuracy. The memory of the sacrifices of Haiti’s previously enslaved Africans, including their founding fathers and mothers, often reflects future generations’ understanding of significant events in accordance with history – ours. deserves proper consideration in a world distorting it.

Her a little (emphasis intentional) how easy to understand liberation‘s screenwriter, Bill Collage, may have been inspired by Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution that liberated the nation from French colonial rule. But it’s hard to understand why liberationThe creative team of .

In a recent Tiktok promotion liberationResponding to a question as to why George speaks with a distinctive “Haitian-French” accent throughout the film, Smith explained that he thought that “many slave owners had fled from Haiti to America just before the Haitian Revolution (just like that) and continued to protect their slaves.” they could.

“So Peter and his wife were brought from Haiti and it was their mother tongue and their children were born and raised on the farm in America,” Smith said. “So they were raised under American English. So, you know, the African slave trade has a lot of diaspora.”

It’s not an actor’s job to figure out every creative decision about the making of the movies they star in, and talking about it succinctly can be incredibly difficult (which isn’t the same as impossible). liberationin an informative way. But movies like liberation – The “prestigious” dramatizations of American history that showcase the brutal treatment of Black bodies in order to look and feel like researched approximations of reality – truly have the task of trying and correcting such details.

When that effort isn’t shown in earnest, it’s hard not to see projects like this one as misguided awards season bait banking based on the idea that Hollywood loves an exaggerated slave narrative to congratulate itself for producing it.

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Many, lots he could easily have gotten that impression earlier this month liberation producer Joey McFarland showed up at the movie’s premiere and pulled one of the original whipped-up photos of Gordon out of his pocket to show off to reporters. McFarland said he brought the photograph, which is just one piece from his personal slavery memorabilia collection, out of a desire to have “a piece of Peter” with him. Unsurprisingly, it has since apologized for the suspicious move, but the optics alone were enough to overshadow the night. liberation no favors

Spiky movies with questionable producers behind them are not a novelty of Apple, and if the company could, it would likely go back and do everything in its power to make sure. liberation he didn’t get into any of this very avoidable mess. Not-so-good movies have been and will be nominated for an Oscar again. But between it mixing up the history it’s supposedly trying to respect and feeling like just another slavery narrative crafted with rewards in mind rather than a desire to tell a good story, it’s becoming more and more similar. liberation He may have set himself up for failure.

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