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King Richard: Why Will Smith’s Venus and Serena drama deserves to win the Oscar for Best Picture?

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Demi Singleton, Saniya Sidney and Will Smith in ‘King Richard’ (Warner Bros)

reyricardo it has always existed in the abstract. You’ve probably heard that Will Smith is in a movie about Venus and Serena Williams, that he plays his father, and that the movie is more about him than it is about the world’s most famous sisters. But it’s less likely that you’ve seen reyricardo. It’s a film first overshadowed by the simultaneous release of Smith’s intimate memoir, then by headlines about the financial disaster it was at the box office. Such dismissal could not have happened to a less deserving film: reyricardo it is much more complex than it seems at first, and it is also animated by charm and affability. Smith also more than likely deserves his win for Best Actor.

He plays Richard Williams, a tennis coach and security guard who always knew that at least one of his daughters would be a sports sensation. scratch that. He wanted it to happen, guiding, through almost obsessive drill-sergeant levels of conviction, young Venus and later her little sister Serena to professional glory, as if God had whispered a vision of their future into his ear. Actually, he waits. A female tennis player said on television that she was earning $47,000 (£35,000) per tournament, which encouraged Richard to write a 78-page plan outlining the entire careers of his unborn daughters.

Despite its optics as a cloying biopic backed by the famous women around whom it revolves, reyricardo he spends a lot of time in those uncertain waters. Richard is an enigma of a leading man, a man who is at once inspiring, brilliant, ignorant, and petty. He frequently undermines his wife Oracene’s voice (Aunjanue Ellis, deservedly nominated for Best Supporting Actress, always refuses to give in to her husband’s room-eating dominance), and at times seems less driven by his daughters’ potential than he is. for his own pride.

Richard serves as a showcase for a proper actor, Smith gets the character’s internal turmoil and external bombast. It’s his best performance in years, and a bit of actor/character alchemy for a top-tier actor who often finds it hard to disappear into his roles.

Even before Smith became synonymous with stories of his and wife Jada’s sexual entanglements, never mind the recent revelation that he once had so much “rampant sex” that he became violently ill, he was very Angelina Jolie school. or Tom Cruise from A.-lists. Somehow you’re always aware that you’re watching an A-lister act. He’s not always crippling, but he’s always there. reyricardo it’s the closest Smith has come to shrinking his colossal fame.

The movie is also something of a throwback. An underdog story wrapped in character drama, reminiscent of the brilliant Oscar movies of yesteryear, and exactly the kind of project Hollywood doesn’t do much anymore. That it made around £50 at the box office may suggest they shouldn’t. But there is a lovely sweetness in reyricardo anyway, from its visual warmth – Los Angeles has never looked sunnier – to the 90s jams on its soundtrack. A biopic with dual tones of playfulness and grit, and one that doesn’t just feel like a glorified Wikipedia page (looking at you, Tammy Faye’s eyes!), it is worth seeing and celebrating. The Academy should do the same.

The 94th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 27, with details on how to watch here

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