Viola Davis Is Menacing in New ‘Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Sneak Peek – Armessa Movie News

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The prequel, led by Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler, hits the big screen worldwide this November.

The audience will soon return to the Capitol with Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes, featuring new faces ready to stand in the arena. The movie is helmed by returning franchise director Francis Lawrence and has a very familiar feel to it despite telling a new story following Tom Blyth as Coriolanus and Rachel Zegler as Lucy. The movie will take us back in time to focus on how President Snow became the ruthless man we know him to be.


As the release date nears, we are getting a better glimpse at the new world and its character with new images and trailers. In a similar vein, the makers have released the a new clip from the feature introducing Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul and Peter Dinklage as Dean Casca Highbottom. The clip starts with Gaul addressing the “leaders of the next generation,” as we see Coriolanus listening to her rather uncomfortably. She then introduces Highbottom as the creator of Hunger Games, who takes a swift sip from his flask before he commences the 10th annual reaping ceremony.


‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Features an Array of Interesting Characters

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
Image via Lionsgate

In the upcoming prequel, Blyth plays a younger version of Snow in a post-war Capitol struggling to keep the pride of his family name, and he’ll fall for his mentee Lucy (Zegler), the tribute from District 12 — only time will tell who turns out to be a songbird and who’s a snake. As for sinister game maker Dr. Gaul, Lawrence recently teased her character to be inspired by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which is quite apparent in the new clip.

The feature has an ensemble cast that includes Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow, Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth, Jason Schwartzman as Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, Fionnula Flanagan as Grandma’am – Coriolanus and Tigris’ strict grandmother, along with Burn Gorman as Commander Hoff, and Ashley Liao as Clemensia Dovecote and more.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is scheduled for November 17 release worldwide. You can check out the new teaser below:

The first four Hunger Games movies are currently available to stream on Hulu in the U.S.

Watch on Hulu

The Hunger Games The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Film Poster

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Experience the story of The Hunger Games – 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.

Release Date
November 17, 2023

Director
Francis Lawrence

Cast
Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Viola Davis, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Burn Gorman, Fionnula Flanagan

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
165 minutes

Genres
Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller

Writers
Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins

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Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Reveals First Clip Showcasing Viola Davis’ Character – Armessa Movie News

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Summary

  • The first clip from The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes introduces the villainous Dr. Gaul and Dean Casca Highbottom.
  • Dr. Gaul, the Head Gamemaker, plays a crucial role in the evolution of the Hunger Games as a ruthless entertainment spectacle.
  • The clip gives viewers a glimpse into the world of young Coriolanus Snow and sets the stage for a thrilling Hunger Games story.


The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has released its first clip. Adapted from the novel by Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes tells the story of a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) and Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) during the tenth Hunger Games, and how the annual event becomes a ruthless entertainment spectacle. One of the key figures in the story of Snow and the Hunger Games’ evolution is the villainous Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis).

The clip released by The Hunger Games primarily focuses on Dr. Gaul introducing herself to Snow and his peers. Check out the clip below:

While Dr. Gaul is the Head Gamemaker, Dean Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage) is credited as the creator of the Hunger Games and is introduced in the clip as well. While Gaul seems to take pleasure in her work, Highbottom’s tone when discussing the Hunger Games hints at some reluctance on his part.


Why Dr. Gaul Is Important To The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes

At the beginning of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the Hunger Games are a far cry from the massive entertainment exhibition shown in the original books and movies that are watched by all of Panem. Even the Capitol’s citizens are not invested in the Games. As Head Gamemaker, Dr. Gaul is at the center of transforming the Games into the spectacle that the Districts will watch in fear as punishment for their rebellion, and that the Capitol’s citizens will gleefully watch.

Dr. Gaul’s influence not only affects the future of the Games, but also greatly impacts Snow and his transformation into becoming the merciless tyrant known as President Snow. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes features several pivotal moments where Snow is at a moral crossroad. While Lucy Gray is more of a positive influence on Snow and pushes him in a better direction, Dr. Gaul definitely brings out the worst in Snow, and pushes him onto the path of the villain that he will become.

Given the importance of Dr. Gaul, it is only fitting that she is played by an actor as talented and accomplished as Davis, with the clip already showing the presence she brings to the role. Davis requested a change from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book, which was to give the character different colored eyes, possibly from an experiment gone awry. From the character’s appearance to Davis’ performance, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes‘ first clip perfectly captures Dr. Gaul’s essence.

Source: The Hunger Games/Twitter

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – Trailer 2 – Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis – 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute a young Coriolanus Snow is the last hope for his failing family- Playlists

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – Trailer 2 – Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Viola Davis – 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute a young Coriolanus Snow is the last hope for his failing family

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023) Official Trailer 2

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Amazingly, Viola Davis’ Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Casting Was Inspired By Viral Fan Art, And I Totally Get It- Armessa Movie News

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Getting Oscar winner Viola Davis to join the Hunger Games prequel was a major coup for the franchise. Some fans might be surprised by her casting, but Davis joining The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes wouldn’t have happened if not for one thing. The movie’s director opened up about Davis’s Hunger Games casting being inspired by viral fan art.

Prequel director Francis Lawrence revealed to EW how a viral poster featuring the Oscar winner influenced the casting decision. Lawrence mentioned the moment he saw the viral fan art he knew Davis would be the perfect person to play The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ main adversary Dr. Volumnia Gaul. The Hollywood director opened up about the impression the fan-made poster had on him, saying:

It was a piece of fan art, and somebody had photoshopped, I think, an image of her standing by a window. It may be a still from The Help, but she had this sort of sinister little smile and they had made mocked up a fake horror poster as if she was the villain in this.

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Viola Davis’ ‘The Woman King’ Oscar Snub Addressed at Chaplin Gala – Armessa Movie News

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The EGOT winner was feted on Monday night at Film at Lincoln Center’s 48th annual Chaplin Gala, where stars like Jessica Chastain made their support clear.

It took about an hour of speeches saluting Viola Davis during the Film at Lincoln Center’s 48th annual Chaplin Gala before someone addressed the elephant in the room.

“When I see a movie like ‘The Woman King,’ it has Viola’s fingerprints all over it,” said Davis’ “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” co-star Jessica Chastain. “A movie like that with a female director and a cast of powerful Black female leads can get made in Hollywood today because of Viola’s lifelong advocacy for women of color. Maybe one day a movie like that can get nominated for an Oscar.”

The statement was met with enthusiastic applause from an audience comprised of Lincoln Center donors, industry colleagues, and plenty of acting students from Davis’ alma mater, Juilliard. It was an explicit callout to the biggest Oscar snub to cast a shadow over last year’s awards season, and contextualized a celebration that made up for the missed opportunity.

Davis’ performance as an African war general seemed like a shoo-in for the Best Actress category after the Sony release grossed close to $100 million following its successful launch on the fall circuit, yet Davis was shut out of the category, while the movie itself garnered zero nominations — an outcome that led to questions about whether the Academy had truly addressed its diversity problems in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite.

At a dinner following the ceremony, where board members shelled out as much as $100,000 per table for the fundraising event, Chastain — who has two months left in the Broadway production of “A Doll’s House” — was still reeling about the exclusion. “Someone had to say it,” she told IndieWire. “I mean, come on. Not a single Oscar nomination for that movie? There had to be some Academy members in that room, right?”

Indeed there were. The crowd ranged from CAA heavyweight Kevin Huvane to prolific documentarian Roger Ross Williams, as well as several other notable actors and filmmakers who took the stage during the ceremony to praise Davis, only the third EGOT winner to receive the Chaplin tribute Mike Nichols and Audrey Hepburn. Notwithstanding Davis’ 2016 Oscar win for “Fences,” the event made the case that the 57-year-old actress’ talent has often been under-appreciated — and in some cases, the highlight of otherwise forgettable movies. For every “Widows” or “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” there are lesser-known gigs such as “Troop Zero” and “Lila & Eve” where she still manages to stand out.

“Widows” filmmaker Steven McQueen acknowledged as much in his speech. “Watching these clips on the screen is like watching Mike Tyson knockouts,” he said. “It’s Viola and someone else listening. You see someone who is truth. It’s scary and revealing.”

While “Woman King” director Gina Prince-Bythewood didn’t address the recent snub in the explicit terms of her editorial earlier this year, she spoke to the cultural impact of the performance. “The number of audiences who have shared that this film and her performance as Nanisca has literally changed their lives is stunning and inspiring,” Prince-Bythewood said. “It’s why we have fought so hard to allow Black female characters to show their mess.”

She also heralded Davis’ “insane work ethic,” a notion echoed by Meryl Streep, who recalled working with Davis on John Patrick Shanley’s 2008 “Doubt,” Davis’s onscreen breakout that resulted in her first Oscar nomination. Streep recalled her frustrations when Shanley kept asking for more takes of the scene in which Davis, as the mother of a child at a Catholic school who may have been abused by its priest, pushes back on allegations from Streep’s nun. “I said, ‘You’re killing this actor,’” Streep recalled. “I know an Oscar performance when I see one.”

Shanley insisted they come back the following week for additional shoots, which was when Davis delivered the devastating performance that wound up in the movie. “The greatest artists have a gift for conveying what it is to be human,” Streep said. “It’s just undeniable and it can’t be stopped by lack of opportunity.”

Matt Damon as Sonny Vaccaro and Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan in AIR Photo: COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

Matt Damon and Viola Davis in “Air”

COURTESY OF AMAZON STUDIOS © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

The event doubled as a soft launch for what could end up being Davis’ next Oscar campaign for her turn as Michael Jordan’s mother Deloris in “Air,” a movie that didn’t appear in any of the montages from Davis’ work but received a standalone clip towards the end of the show. The scene finds Deloris pressing for Matt Damon’s Nike executive to accept a deal that promises her son will receive indefinite revenues from Air Jordan sales, though it doubles as an argument for pay equity that Davis has pressed for across the industry.

Amazon expects big numbers for the movie when it lands on the streaming service in May following its wide theatrical release, as it inches toward $50 million box office in North America. However, “Air” director Ben Affleck and others associated with the performance did not attend the gala, as the studio is likely to wait until later this year to unleash more advocacy for that performance.

In her own speech concluding the ceremony, Davis hewed to the bigger picture of her career, striking the same rousing note of her memoir “Finding Me,” which came out last year. “The biggest regret of the dying is never becoming your ideal self,” she said. “I do believe that we’re thrust into a world where we don’t fit in. A lot of people sell a bill of goods along the way — that if you get some awards, you mean something. … You swim through all the bad, filthy swill until you come to the really, really stark conclusion that you want to leave this Earth becoming who you know deep within I’m supposed to be. That transcends status.”

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In Conversation with Viola Davis – Armessa Movie News

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This week we’re celebrating the recipient of Film at Lincoln Center’s 48th Chaplin Award, one of America’s preeminent actresses: Viola Davis, who has dazzled us for over three decades on the stage and the screen, and whose life story is as inspirational as her craft. 

In an in-depth tribute essay for Film Comment, Soraya Nadia McDonald writes that “Davis is very much a daughter of the American South, whose experiences have been shaped by the darkness of her skin and the tightness of the curls in her hair. The childhood of poverty, abuse, and invisibility she writes of in her memoir could easily come from a play by August Wilson. But hers is also a tale of triumph, of overcoming odds and learning to love herself through her remarkable talent as an actor. To turn away from Davis, to look away from all that she evokes and represents, is to avoid facing the past and present of this country.”

A couple of days ago, I sat down with Davis to dig into some of the most memorable on-screen moments from her career, and how she shapes her formidable performances by being a keen observer of life. We discussed her iconic turns in Denzel Washington’s Fences, Steve McQueen’s Widows, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King, and some deeper cuts, like her early role in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight.


     

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‘Air’: Screenwriter on Michael Jordan, Viola Davis and WGA Strike – Armessa Movie News

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Before “Air” could get the greenlight, director Ben Affleck needed one last seal of approval. With months of development already complete, the director flew out to meet with Michael Jordan, seeking his blessing for the film, which explores the NBA star’s landmark 1984 sponsorship deal with Nike and the origin of the Air Jordan line.

For screenwriter Alex Convery, this was the most stressful 24 hours of his career.

“Either this was going to get made and it would be my first produced movie, or it’s all going to fall apart. Back to square one,” Convery recalls in a conversation with Variety. “To really do this responsibly, you need Michael to say yes. Ben said it in the first meeting, ‘We will not do the movie if Michael doesn’t want to do it.’”

Déjà vu. Waiting for a call that could change his life, Convery found himself in a situation that he had practically written into his own screenplay. “Air” culminates with a Hail Mary meeting between the Jordan family and Nike executives, led by scrappy Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), who takes the wheel during the pitch by looking the then-incoming rookie Jordan in the eyes and expounding about his generational talent, predicting a future of how it will come to elevate the sport itself.

Vaccaro’s soliloquized idealism fades over the following days, waiting by the phone to learn if Jordan bought his argument.

“Looking back, so much of what Sonny is saying is exactly how I was feeling as a stuck screenwriter,” Convery laughs. “Him saying, ‘I have a feeling! I know this can be something!’ I’m the only one who could probably see it, but I do laugh. It is way too obvious.”

To get Jordan to visit Nike headquarters, Vacarro goes behind a bunch of executives warning him to steer clear of the rising star, whose reputation is seen as too outsized for the Nike basketball division’s slim budget. Like his protagonist, Convery reveals that he went rogue in writing the screenplay for “Air,” chipping away at it between paid writing gigs. Even once he began sharing a finished draft, producers warned him that the project was unlikely to be approved by the necessary parties.

“I didn’t tell my agent or managers I was doing it because I knew they would say ‘Don’t write it.’ Smartly!” Convery says. “Don’t spec something you don’t control the rights to.”

Convery had already learned this lesson the hard way. After penning a script about the rise of Marvel Comics and its rivalrous leaders Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, the screenwriter says his “heart was put in a blender” when the project couldn’t find a way off the ground.

Nonetheless, Convery couldn’t help himself. The writer grew up in the suburbs of Chicago during the ‘90s, witnessing up close the unmatched fervor for Jordan and his six-championship franchise dynasty. Reliving the Bulls glory days with the hit ESPN doc “The Last Dance” in 2020, Convery found his creativity activated by an anecdote in the series that detailed Nike’s unlikely deal with Jordan.

Alex Convery
Courtesy

“My version of write what you know is ‘What are you most passionate about?’” Convery says. “I just saw the movie, which so rarely happens. I never have good ideas. But it was just all there… I didn’t want to write it, but I had to because no one else knows there’s something here.”

Convery understood early on that Jordan couldn’t be an explicit character in the screenplay. The NBA star is a spectral presence in “Air,” sometimes comically so; the 21-year-old rookie can be seen walking into business meetings, but always facing away from the camera or with his head just out of frame. Jordan speaks only once in the film – and it’s one word on the other end of a phone call. In previous interviews, Convery has compared Jordan’s narrative function to the shark’s in “Jaws” – a looming force of nature that goes unseen.

“The less you show of him, the more powerful the idea of him is,” Convery says. The original spec detailed a climactic cut to Jordan’s face during Vaccaro’s speech to him, but the idea was promptly scrapped. “To Ben’s credit, from the first time we sat down, he was like, ‘You have to pick one or the other.’ The minute the headline comes out of which actor is going to be playing Michael Jordan, that will be the only story of the movie.”

Instead, “Air” finds its conduit for the Jordan family in Viola Davis, who portrays the star’s mother, Deloris – a woman carefully navigating an onslaught of businessmen, judging which parties will actually pay for the value they see in her son.

In the film’s climax, Deloris calls Vaccaro to agree to his deal, provided that Jordan receives a fraction of the revenue for all Nike products featuring his name and image. Vaccaro deflates at first. It’s not even that he disagrees with the principle; it’s that sponsorship deals simply have not worked like that before.

“Knowing the Jordan family gets their due at the end, I just always felt that would shine through more than the idea of white executives at Nike. It’s the Jordan family that has the final victory,” Convery says. “The way Ben puts it is Dolores suddenly becomes the protagonist. The guy you thought you were rooting for the entire movie suddenly becomes the guy you’re rooting against.”

Ben Affleck as Phil Knight in “Air”
©Amazon/Courtesy Everett Collection

For Convery, there are mixed emotions to his first produced screenplay coming to fruition as the Writers Guild of America prepares for a potential strike, which the screenwriter calls “long overdue.” The ultimate triumph of “Air” is watching an athlete receive rightful compensation for a product with his name on it. As negotiations continue between the WGA and major studios, Convery’s sentiment is that writers are only seeking the same.

“The business has been changing under our feet for a long time. The way writers are compensated is not reflected in that change,” Convery says. “There are writers that are going to be affected by this more and less than others. That’s the painful part of going into any battle — not everyone is going to be affected equally. But all of these places are profit-driven; if they could cut us out, they would. It’s the power of the guild that we’ve gotten as far as we are now.”

As Dolores looked out for her son while negotiating with Nike, Convery sees this labor rally among WGA members as a necessary, deserved investment in the future.

“William Goldman didn’t have health care! It’s crazy! Paddy Chayefsky didn’t have health care. I wouldn’t either if people before me, who didn’t know me and probably never will, didn’t go on strike,” Convery says. “Here we are again and we’re ready.”

“Air” is in theaters now.

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‘Air’ Oscars Analysis: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis – Armessa Movie News

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As a director, Ben Affleck has proven himself to be a versatile, compelling talent, moving seamlessly from the morally complex “Gone Baby Gone” to the stark crime drama “The Town” to the tense and thrilling best picture winner “Argo.” Even Affleck’s one directorial misstep, the critically panned box office bomb “Live by Night,” has an intriguing gloss and conviction.

That’s why it’s so difficult for many viewers to answer: “Which Affleck-directed joint is your favorite?” Well, that decision may get even harder with the arrival of “Air,” Affleck’s latest feature which premiered as the Closing Night film at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this month. 

“Air” tells the story of Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon), a marketing executive for the athletic shoe and apparel supplier Nike, Inc., who seeks to strike a deal with rookie basketball player Michael Jordan during the 1980s. Anchored by Damon’s committed leading performance – his best since “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999) – the film is an old-fashioned “Dad movie,” you know, the kind of straight-forward, absorbing yarns that used to pop up on TBS and TNT before becoming an endangered species in this Hollywood era. Nonetheless, with crisp direction and dynamite performances, it’s undoubtedly 2023’s first offering for one of the 10 coveted slots for best picture at next year’s Oscars.

Distributed by Amazon Studios, the sports drama is the most significant investment by the streaming giant for a theatrical release. It is set to open in more than 3,000 theaters beginning on April 5. Its main challenge is remaining part of the awards discussion over the next 10 to 12 months.

People love nothing more than the story of an underdog, which is why the sports genre has so often resonated with audiences and, at times, the Oscars. Depending on your definition of what qualifies as a “sports movie,” there have been 17 nominated for best picture in 95 years, with three winners: “Rocky” (1976), “Chariots of Fire” (1981) and “Million Dollar Baby” (2004).

Elements of “Air” will draw comparisons to Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” (2011), which mixed a look at the Oakland A’s 2002 season with a wonky look at the way Billy Beane embraced sophisticated sabermetrics as a way to get an edge on richer teams. In addition, Damon’s sharp and witty performance is reminiscent of Brad Pitt’s Oscar-nominated turn as Beane, inviting viewers into a movie who may not know much or care about basketball. He’s a sympathetic guide through the ins and outs of basketball stars and the shoe companies that help make them wealthy.

Well-respected in the Academy’s actors branch, as seen by his three career noms – “Good Will Hunting” (1997), “Invictus” (2009) and “The Martian” (2015) – Damon’s fourth nom could be in his future, especially with a final act monologue that will be meme’d and quoted by dude-bros for the next decade (creating an original screenplay contender out of first-timer Alex Convery). In addition to his acting recognition, he’s been nominated as a producer for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) and won original screenplay for “Hunting” with his childhood friend Affleck.

Amazon Studios’ “Air”

An excellent selection for the Screen Actors Guild Awards’ best ensemble category, there are acting standouts that will appeal to varying spectators.

Fresh off her snub for “The Woman King” (2022), Viola Davis is sure to be among the potential candidates for best supporting actress for her turn as Deloris Jordan, the stoic and cheerleading mother of the greatest player of all time. Davis is already the most nominated Black actress in Academy Awards history with four nods, including a win for “Fences” (2016), and could extend her record-breaking run further.

In addition to his stunning direction, Affleck hams it up with his portrayal of Nike co-founder and CEO Phil Knight. Affleck steals scenes sporting a curly wig, gnarly sunglasses and a pink jogging suit that will make Halloween even more entertaining (from Black costume designer Charlese Antoinette Jones, who will hopefully follow in Ruth E. Carter’s Oscar-winning footsteps).

It’s rare for a filmmaker to direct themself to an acting nod. That was last achieved by Bradley Cooper for “A Star is Born” (2018) and happened twice for Clint Eastwood, who was honored for “Unforgiven” (1992) and “Million Dollar Baby.” Interestingly, no one has ever pulled that off in a supporting acting category, which would be the route for Affleck (filmmakers like John Huston and Erich von Stroheim were nominated for supporting turns, but in films directed by others). Nevertheless, he may have better chances to seek his overdue director’s nomination after being snubbed for “Argo.” Instead, he won his second career statuette as a co-producer alongside George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

The rest of the cast delivers impressive moments, including Jason Bateman as Nike employee Rob Strasser, Julius Tennon as James, Michael Jordan’s father who was murdered in 1993 and Chris Tucker as Howard White, the spiritually charismatic vice president of talent. Moreover, my favorite is the underutilized Chris Messina as sports agent David Falk, offering up a Long Island version of Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire, who never ceases to bring a smile to your face.

Matt Damon, left, Ben Affleck, Alex Convery, Chris Tucker, Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Chris Messina and Jason Bateman attend the “Air” world premiere at SXSW.
Getty Images for SXSW

Affleck assembles an incredible artisan team, notably editor William Goldenberg, creating a breezy 112-minute experience. In addition, D.P. Robert Richardson delivers a framework that makes the viewer say, “They don’t make them like this anymore.”

After “Everything Everywhere All at Once” screened at SXSW in 2022 and won best picture at the 94th ceremony, casual post-mortems interpreted the sci-fi comedy’s history-making moment as the signal that “anything is possible” for the Oscars. While somewhat true, I have found that in this new era of streamers, social media, and vigorous campaigning, the release date is no longer the driving factor of Oscar success.

If the movie nabs decent box office receipts, it could be one of the few times where consumer and critical acclaim cross over in the awards race, just as they did with last year’s “Top Gun: Maverick.”

“Air” could fly just as high.

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