With much buzz happening around it, Warner Bros. has decided to move up Destin Daniel Cretton's civil rights drama “Just Mercy” from January to an Oscar-qualifying December/Christmas Day release. It will now be competing in the same month as other Oscar-ready December releases such as Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” and Jay Roach’s “Fair Game.”
“Just Mercy” tells the true story of the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson. The movie focuses on Stevenson’s first case, as he took on the goal of freeing innocent death-row prisoner Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx).
Cretton’s “Short Term 12” star Brie Larson is in the film as well. Their last venture together was the misbegotten biodrama “The Glass Castle.” Let’s hope this one’s a little better than that saccharine-inducing mess.
If you remember, just last week, insider Jeff Sneider had tweeted about the considerable buzz being built around “Just Mercy” and “Queen & Slim” as serious Best Picture frontrunners. It was the first I had heard of these two movies, but, clearly, now Warner Bros. are on the offensive and are ready to push ‘Mercy’ forward into awards contention. The story stinks of familiarity but maybe the Cretton’s direction will elevate it into something special.