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Emancipation denied: Apple TV+ Oscar bait flops (but Mole gets a nom)

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'Emancipation' on Apple TV+ stars will Smith
"Emancipation" will not be the second Apple TV+ film to win a Best Picture Oscar.
Graphic: Apple TV+

The Apple TV+ Christmas special The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse earned an Oscar nomination Tuesday in the Animated Short Film category. And Brian Tyree Henry picked up a best supporting actor nom for his role in Causeway, the indie film starring Jennifer Lawrence as a wounded Afghanistan vet returning to her hometown.

However, Apple’s streaming service will not be earning back-to-back Best Picture Oscars. It’s big Oscar bait release — Emancipation, the Civil War-era movie starring Will Smith as a slave fighting for his freedom — was completely shut out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Emancipation looks the horrors of slavery dead in the eye [Apple TV+ review] ★★★★☆

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Emancipation review: This action-packed look at the brutality of slavery should make you forget The Slap.★★★★☆
Emancipation is an action-packed look at the brutality of slavery that should make you forget The Slap.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewBased on a true story about a slave’s quest for freedom during the Civil War, Apple TV+’s oddly positioned Oscar contender Emancipation pairs action with an unflinching look at slavery’s brutality.

It stars Will Smith, whose bizarre post-Slap apology tour makes for strange bedfellows with Emancipation’s stark subject matter and the film’s action-oriented director, Antoine Fuqua. But this cautiously made movie is probably the best possible film this team could have produced. And indeed, it’s quite a bit better than an Oscar-ready slavery drama made in today’s Hollywood has any right to be.

Will Smith hopes Emancipation won’t be snubbed despite his ‘horrific decision’

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Will Smith hopes 'Emancipation' won't be snubbed despite his 'horrific decision'
Will Smith told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show "I lost it."
Photo: Matt Wilson/Comedy Central

Emancipation has a problem: the upcoming Apple TV+ docudrama stars Will Smith who was at the center of one of the year’s biggest Hollywood scandals, “The Slap.”

In an interview on The Daily Show, Smith said he regrets that his action at the 2022 Oscar ceremony is distracting from the work that others put into the film, especially director Antoine Fuqua.

Emancipation trailer shows Will Smith’s epic struggle for freedom

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'Emancipation' trailer shows Will Smith’s epic struggle for freedom
Will Smith and Ben Foster star in Emancipation, coming to Apple TV+ in December.
Photo: Apple TV+

Emancipation starring Will Smith portrays one man’s fight through unthinkable terrors to reunite with his family. It is based on the real-life story of Peter, whose saga of escaping slavery made headlines around the world in 1863.

A trailer for the upcoming Apple TV+ film premiered Wednesday revealing top-quality acting and cinematography.

Will Smith’s Emancipation comes in December

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Will Smith's 'Emancipation' comes in December
Will Smith stars in Emancipation, coming to theaters and Apple TV+ in December.
Screenshot: Apple TV+

Still remember why you’re mad at Will Smith? Apple TV+ hopes you’ve forgotten about the “The Slap” by December because that’s when Emancipation staring Smith will reach theaters and the streaming service.

The historical drama is based on the real-life story of a man named Peter, whose saga of escaping slavery made headlines around the world in 1863. A just-released teaser trailer gives a first look.

Will Smith’s Emancipation won’t premiere on Apple TV+ before 2023

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Will Smith
Will Smith's personal problems struck a blow to his upcoming Apple TV+ film Emancipation.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple has reportedly decided to push back the premiere of Emancipation. Insider sources that leaked the change did not say the delay of the historical drama staring Will Smith was the result of “The Slap,” but Smith’s shocking outburst at this year’s Academy Awards show almost certainly had to be a factor.

Emancipation is based on the real-life story of a man named Peter, whose saga of escaping slavery made headlines around the world in 1863.