Can Chadwick Boseman muscle into the Best Actor conversation with 'Get On Up?'
I can't offer extended "review" thoughts on Tate Taylor's "Get On Up" for another week yet, but I'm pretty sure I can comment on Chadwick Boseman's performance as The Godfather of Soul, James Brown. So let's do that…
I went into this thing with plenty of skepticism, and I'm pretty sure I have a love/hate relationship with it after tonight's screening. But I will say this: like the film itself, Boseman is possessed of a magnetic sort of confidence here. This guy came out of nowhere, knocked a pretty solid performance out with his Jackie Robinson portrayal in last year's "42" and showed some real cojones to even accept this part, frankly. Let's face it, he's an unknown who was in danger of instantly pigeonholing himself as "the African American biopic guy." But he sold me with staggering ease.
For the last few weeks I've heard first- and second-hand thoughts on Boseman's work along the lines of "he's a shoo-in for an Oscar nom." I wouldn't quite go so far, though I do think a Best Actor - Comedy/Musical slot is reserved for him at the Golden Globes. But people will be talking about this work because it takes things above a mere impersonation. There's an attitude and, again, a fierce confidence on display here that is pretty special when you stumble across it.
The film will be occupying that early-to-mid August release frame that has proved successful at the box office for films like "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and Taylor's own "The Help" in recent years. And that will be an important part of the overall Oscar picture here: if the movie makes a significant fiscal dent, that can only help give it a great boost into the season.
I imagine more than a fair share of critics will dismiss the film, and I can already see their (likely valid) critiques coming. But Boseman's committed work will probably survive that fray and the whole thing will send his career soaring to the next level. It's a special piece of work and he just takes the whole thing onto his shoulders. Fantastic to see a star truly born.
More in due time…