Monday, April 22, 2024

American Film Institute Made a Mistake Omitting “Billie Holiday” Movie, Andra Day in Oscar Buzzed Performance


There’s an embargo on reviewing “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” until February 19th. I’m not sure why. Usually that means a movie isn’t so good, and they’re nervous.

I’m not allowed to review it until then. But I can tell you that the American Film Institute made a big mistake omitting Lee Daniels’ film from its top 10. Maybe their argument is that “Billie Holiday” technically falls into 2021. But it’s eligible for this round of Oscars, and by god, it’s going to be there.

Andra Day sails into the Best Actress top 5. I can’t tell you too much except what’s public: this is the R&B singer’s first movie, which is extraordinary. She will be in the company of Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, and Carey Mulligan, I feel, which isn’t to say anything negative about the many fine performances by actresses this season. But it would be folly to¬† ignore this one.

How lucky are we to have this surfeit of amazing work for the 2021 Oscars?

So I wait to tell you more on February 19th. “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” comes to Hulu on February 25th. It was supposed to be with Paramount. I do hope there’s a theatrical release of some kind. And remember, this is not a review. I haven’t really told you anything. On February 19th there will be so much to say!

PS I just read that Andra Day lost 40 pounds to play this part. I felt her pain! But it was worth it. I hope she had a banana split when this film wrapped!


And of course we all know Andra’s big hit, “Rise Up”:

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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