‘Woman King’ Oscars Campaign: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch

‘Woman King’ Oscars Campaign: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch


After two weeks of solid box office showings, excellent reviews and raving fan response, “The Woman King” has become one of the most notable hits of the year, with plans to compete in the awards shows for both major and craft categories. attention.

One of the standout stars of the film, Thuso Mbedu, who plays the young Nawi, will be campaigning to get the attention of the actress, Variety has learned. Academy Award winner Viola Davis (“Fences”) will be the only actress to campaign for lead actress.

Mbedu, who was the breakthrough sensation of director Barry Jenkins’ 2021 Emmy-nominated series “The Underground Railroad,” will compete in support alongside her co-stars Sheila Atim, Jayme Lawson, Adrienne Warren and most prominent, Lashana Lynch. All male actors, including John Boyega, will compete in the supporting role.


Starting with the duo “Gone with the Wind” (1939) Olivia de Havilland and winner Hattie McDaniel, who became the first black woman ever to win an Oscar, we’ve seen a total of 35 films receive two nominations for supporting actress. in the history of the Oscars. The final performance was Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz for “The Favorite” (2018).

There is one instance of two black women nominated in the category of the same film – Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey for “The Color Purple” (1986). In fact, it’s only happened once in another acting category: the shocking double dip of eventual winner Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield (who campaigned in the lead role) for “Judas and the Black Messiah” (2021).

THE WOMAN KING, Thuso Mbedu, 2022. © TriStar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

©TriStar Photos/Courtesy Everett Collection

Read: the latest predictions, visit Varieties Oscars Hub.

Can both Mbedu and Lynch get attention from the acting branch? With the recent news that Michelle Williams is looking for a lead actress, their chances are increasing considerably, even though many feel that Mbedu is more of a lead in ‘The Woman King’.

Davis has shattered the ceilings of the Academy in recent years. She is already the most nominated black woman in history with four nominations. She is also the first to be nominated for Best Actress for a second time. If she lands another nomination for her work as general and combatant Nanisca, she would be the first black to be nominated for a film that also featured her as a producer.

If “The Woman King” is one of the ten films nominated for Best Picture, Davis would be only the third black woman to be nominated in the category, after Winfrey (“Selma”) and Kimberly Steward (“Manchester by the Sea”) . If she can also land a lead role, she would be the first black woman and second woman ever to be nominated for acting and producing in the same year. The other was Frances McDormand for “Nomadland” (2020), who won both. For context, people like Warren Beatty and Clint Eastwood have done this multiple times.

To add a little glee to the equation, her co-star, co-producer and husband Julius Tennon would also be a nominee, the first time a married couple has shared the nomination for best picture in the same year.

THE WOMAN KING, Lashana Lynch, 2022. © TriStar Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

©TriStar Photos/Courtesy Everett Collection

Six black men have been nominated for directing in Oscar history: John Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) ), Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) and Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”). Despite close calls and blatant snubs for artists like Ava DuVernay and Regina King, we haven’t nominated a black woman yet. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood could be the first.

Composer Terence Blanchard made history as the first black composer to be nominated twice for original score after “Da 5 Bloods” (2020). He could extend that record. That same year also marked the first time multiple black composers were nominated, including eventual winner Jon Batiste for “Soul” (along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross).

Cinematographer Polly Morgan hopes to join Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) and Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”) as the only women nominated in the category.

Editor Terilyn A. Shropshire would be the third black and second black woman to be nominated after Hugh A. Robertson (“Midnight Cowboy”) and Joi McMillon (“Moonlight”).

As it stands, Oscar winner Hannah Beachler’s historic win for “Black Panther” (2018) is the sole winner and nominee for Black production designers. Akin McKenzie’s 19th-century creation of the Dahomey Kingdom could make him the second.

Written by Dana Stevens, “The Woman King” has now grossed $36.2 million at the domestic box office. It hopes to continue its historic run in the Oscar season.


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