The film, about South Africa leader Nelson Mandela, had at least two screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival.
THR awards analyst Scott Feinberg offered his thoughts after screening the film.
The person who so reminded Mandela of himself — and the reason why the film is what it is — is Idris Elba, who gives a typically masterful performance, portraying Mandela from his relative youth through his historic election…He also nails the great man’s voice and accent, and, thanks to prosthetics, hair and makeup, looks eerily like him (particularly as an old man). It all combines to make him one of the strongest contenders for this year’s best actor Oscar.
Naomie Harris, who was cast as Mandela’s wife, Winnie, could also see a nomination. Feinberg writes that he “expect(s) that Harris will strongly contend for a best supporting actress Oscar nomination.”
Clint Eastwood’s 2009 film, Invictus, focused on just a small part of Mandela’s life.
It’s possible that Mandela’s story works better as a miniseries. Entertainment Weekly awards writer Anthony Breznican tweeted the other day:
Mandela's story may be too big for one film. Wish the script had taken a more narrow focus instead of just a highlight reel of that life.
— Anthony Breznican (@Breznican) September 8, 2013
I couldn’t agree more.