Maybe the first of many awards to come for the film and its stars?
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will be feted at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (where the film will make its debut) by The Hollywood Reporter.
Specifically, the stars of the film - Idris Elba and Naomie Harris - will receive The Hollywood Reporter's inaugural Breakthrough in Film Awards, in an event that will take place on Sunday, September 8.
“The Hollywood Reporter Breakthrough in Film Awards highlights the incredible work of emerging talent,” said Janice Min, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter. “We are thrilled to recognize Idris Elba and Naomie Harris for their roles in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a film which tells one of the most important stories of our time.”
According to THR, The Breakthrough in Film Awards were created to:
... honor the work of an actor and actress in a leading role whose performance marks a turning point in their career.
So I suppose THR believes that Elba and Harris give performances in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom that will mark turning points in their respective careers.
Time will certainly tell. Although both of them have done fairly well in recent years, on both sides of the Atlantic. Idris likely has more name notoriety right now (here in the USA) than Naomie does, thanks to supporting parts in a handful of big budget action movies, and, of course, Luther.
He's also fairly active on Twitter.
However, leading man roles in Hollywood continue to evade him, even as his name has been mentioned by fans as a potential replacement for internationally-recognized characters in James Bond and, most recently, Batman. When you're getting that kind *love* from fans, you're doing something right.
Speaking of 007, Harris' most prominent role was likely in the last James Bond flick - Skyfall, playing Eve. She'll reprise the role in the next installment in the franchise, due in 2015.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will be released by The Weinstein Company on November 29, likely as one of its Oscar contenders.
This could be one of those very rare years in which 2 black actors are nominated in the same Oscar category - I'm speaking specifically of the Best Actor category, which will be crowded this year. Chiwetel Ejiofor has likely ensured himself a nomination slot, given all the praise for 12 Years A Slave, after its Telluride debut last weekend.
The second of the 5 nominee slots could go to one of these 3 gents: Forest Whitaker (The Butler), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale), and, of course, Idris Elba.
I'll go more in-depth on the Oscar race in a much later post.
But, for now, Elba has a slight leg-up on the competition with 1 award to his name, even though it's the Hollywood Reporter's inaugural Breakthrough in Film Award, and not something far more significant that's considered to be an early Oscar predictor.