Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the “Concussion” Trailer

Will Smith Concussion  field
Early yesterday, one of the formerly unseen awards contenders finally revealed itself with a Trailer. The film in question is Concussion, the Will Smith vehicle that tackles the issue of head trauma within the National Football League. Last year we had a decidedly lighter NFL related movie with Draft Day, but this year it’s Oscar bait and concussions. The flick seems to be hoping to appeal as a drama/dramatic thriller of sorts, but I’ll get into that shortly. Smith will hope to contend for his first Academy Award, but what are the prospects overall for the film? Well, let’s discuss that right now, and of course, you’ll have the Trailer to take a peek at at the end of this piece…

The movie is a dramatized look at an issue the NFL is struggling with right now, namely how dangerous concussions are for their players. Smith stars here as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man who brought the issue up for the first time. Omalu was a noted forensic neuropathologist who made the first discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE, a football-related brain trauma, or in short…the damage a concussion can do. He found it in pro players and brought it to the league, beginning a David vs. Goliath story over what to do next. Peter Landesman writes and directs, while the cast, aside from Smith, includes Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alec Baldwin, Albert Brooks, Eddie Marsan, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Stephen Moyer, and Luke Wilson. If it winds up being a quality flick, this one could very well capture the attention of the nation.

Basically, the two main things that will have to happen for Concussion to play is that Smith gets awards buzz and the subject matter captures the public zeitgeist. One kind of goes hand in hand with the other, but it’s the truth. Smith might contend for Best Actor in terms of a nomination just on the strength of his work, but to actually win he’ll need folks talking about CTE and this story in a big way. It might be an uphill battle, but if that happens, I wouldn’t be shocked if this film becomes a big surprise contender at the end of the year.

If everything does break right for the movie, what are its awards chances, you ask? Well, there’s the obvious duo of Best Picture and Best Director (for Landesman), along with Best Actor (for Smith). In the case of it being a big Oscar player, you can also potentially look out for Best Supporting Actor (for Baldwin or Brooks), Best Supporting Actress (for Mbatha-Raw), and Best Original Screenplay (for Landesman) contention. Best Film Editing and Best Original Score are also ones to keep in mind if the Academy goes gaga over this, but I wouldn’t bet on that happening. I’d say a targeted campaign of Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay is what will happen if this one does have the goods.

Concussion still remains a big X factor, but the Trailer that I’ll be showing you below does intrigue me. It doesn’t necessarily look like an automatic frontrunner, but Smith appears on point and the subject matter could hit during the awards season at the absolute perfect time. Assuming there’s no last minute film festival bow for the title, it’s got a Christmas Day release, which is pretty high profile. You don’t put something like this out on December 25th unless you think it has Oscar potential. We’ll see what the Academy thinks of it in a few months, but for now, take a look at the Trailer and sit tight for more on this one soon…

Will Smith Concussion

Here’s the Trailer for Concussion:

Stay tuned for much more on Concussion between now and its Christmas Day release date!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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