Denzel Washington both directs and stars in Fences, which brings August Wilson’s hard-hitting urban drama to the big screen for the first time.
The leg up that Fences has is that both Washington and his leading lady, Viola Davis, carried this material through a 2010 Broadway revival, so they are intimately familiar with the subject matter, and the way that they choose to play it. In addition to being some of the finest actors of this (or any) generation, we have Washington and Davis committing a finalized version of an esteemed play, and they’ve had months and months of live “rehearsals.” That should lead to a near-perfect film, right?
So far, so good. Though the movie hasn’t screened widely, top critics were able to see Fences ahead of its December 16 limited bow. To date, the film boasts a 90% Fresh grade on Rotten Tomatoes, with reviewers saying Denzel Washington remains faithful in his adaptation of the material, and both he and Viola Davis are at the tops of their respective games. Seeing the conflicts that are inherent to the story — which follows a father trying to come to grips with the challenges of raising a son whose turning into a man — you can recognize how Fences gives the two brilliant actors plenty of opportunities to… swing for the fences (sorry) as we head into Awards Season.
And what if each was able to win an Oscar in their respective categories. For Viola Davis, this could be her third Oscar nomination, though it would be her first win (having earned nods for Doubt and The Help). Denzel Washington, on the other hand, has two Oscar wins under his belt for Glory and Training Day. A third win for acting would put him in rarified air, alongside Katharine Hepburn (four Oscars), Daniel Day-Lewis (three Oscars), Meryl Streep (three Oscars), Jack Nicholson (three Oscars), Ingrid Bergman (three Oscars), and Walter Brennan (three Oscars).
Fences will go wide on December 28, and expects to enjoy a lengthy run through the Oscar season, which kicks into full swing in January. For now, what do you think of the trailer?
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