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Idris Elba Demands Your Oscar Attention As Nelson Mandela In Long Walk To Freedom

Mandela Poster

Not everything can – nor should – be broken down into the immediate categorization of “Oscar contender” or not. And yet, when I hear that the brilliant Idris Elba is playing activist and politician Nelson Mandela for a biopic, I start to assume that he’s the current frontrunner for all of the Oscars, in every category, from now until the end of time.

OK, slight exaggeration. And we haven’t seen much from the upcoming film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom beyond the teaser poster that just arrived on Yahoo Movies. But again, it’s the genius behind Stringer Bell sinking his teeth into a complicated, multi-faceted personality like Mandela.

And did I mention The Weinstein Company is backing Long Walk? See, I told you. Oscars.

Here’s what else we know. The film will be directed by Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) from a screenplay by William Nicholson. It will bite off a large chunk of Mandela’s life story, starting with his childhood in South Africa and tracing the man’s steps all the way to his election as the first black president of South Africa in 1994. The equally fantastic Naomie Harris (Skyfall) is on board as Winnie Mandela. The film is looking at a Nov. 29 release date in the U.S.

Keep in mind, however, that movies about Mandela are not automatic slam dunks. Did you ever hear about Winnie, a 2011 drama starring Terrence Howard and Jennifer Hudson as Nelson and Winnie which dropped off the face of the Earth after dismal festival screenings? Yeah, I didn’t think so. The same could happen to Long Walk. We’ll find out when we’re finally able to see it.

Sean O'Connell

Movie junkie. Infatuated with comic-book films. ReelBlend cohost. Resident dad. Extroverted introvert. Wants to see the Snyder Cut. Managing Director at CinemaBlend.