The fall season is about to spring upon us, and a few people will be highlighted.
My money is on Denzel Washington, who has two big hits coming to bookend the season.
Denzel stars in Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven,” opening the Toronto Film Festival on September 8th, and then opening in theatres everywhere on September 23rd.
Washington heads up an all star cast that includes Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Luke Grimes. The buzz is very strong from early screenings. While some remakes like “Ben Hur” have collapsed at the box office, “M7” looks like a winner.
But wait– there’s more for Denzel. His film adaptation of August Wilson’s “Fences” comes in December. Washington directs himself and Viola Davis in the main roles, with Russell Hornsby. Denzel already knows his way around “Fences,” having staged it himself on Broadway with Viola, who won a Tony Award for Best Actress. “Fences” the movie is an Oscar certainty.
Remember– Viola Davis first came to attention on film when she played the lead character’s drug addicted mother in “Antwone Fisher,” which Washington also directed.
One irony of the Oscar season– Nate Parker, who wrote, directed and stars in “The Birth of a Nation,” is also a Washington graduate. He starred in Denzel’s “The Great Debaters” nine years ago. If the movie can overcome its current problems and head to awards, Washington can also take pride in that accomplishment.