Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Watch Tony Winner Cynthia Erivo — On Oscar Path — Sing Her Self-Penned Title Song from “Harriet,” Opening Today


Since I saw “Harriet” at the Toronto Film Festival I haven’t heard a lot about it. But this fine film opens today, and Cynthia Erivo must certainly get an Oscar nomination for playing Harriet Tubman brilliantly. The Tony Award winner (for “The Color Purple”) is a gifted actress and singer.

Erivo wrote the title track, “Stand Up,” with Jonathan Brian Campbell. On Tuesday, Cynthia performede the song at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for the Critics Choice and other press and friends. That night at the “Harriet” premiere, Janelle Monae, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Elizabeth Banks and Debra Martin Chase were among the guests, and so was “Harriet” director Kasi Lemmons.

I’ll tell you why you have to see this movie: all of us, especially those under 50, don’t really know that Harriet Tubman was a real person. “The Underground Railroad” is something you hear tossed around. What was it? How did she do it? The crazy thing is, Harriet Tubman was like Wonder Woman without the cape. I’ve heard people say this is “like a Lifetime movie.” Bull shit. This is something we have to sit down and watch, everyone. And lucky us, in the middle of this presentation there’s a GREAT performance.

Best actresses: Renee Z, Cynthia, Charlize, Scarlett are the top competitors I’ve seen so far. “Little Women”? Don’t know, won’t see it for another week.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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