Award season is only a few short months away and Annapurna Pictures have started a mission in order to make sure that the work and talent of actor Algee Smith in their film Detroit doesn’t go unnoticed.
Detroit is based on the events of The Algiers Motel Incident which took place during the racially charged 1967 12th Street Riot in Detroit, Michigan. Three black male teenagers were killed and nine other civilians were tortured and beaten by different members of the state’s police force and the Michigan Nation Guard. To this day, no one has been held accountable for the torture or the murder of the boys.
The film generated a lot of buzz before its release but failed to keep that momentum afterward and while the performances of the actors were predominately praised, others were bothered that a tale so connected with the black experience, still managed to give the power to the whites. A.O. Scott wrote in The New York Times:
“It is curious that a movie set against a backdrop of black resistance and rebellion—however inchoate and self-destructive its expression may have been—should become a tale of black helplessness and passivity. The white men, the decent ones as much as the brutes, have the answers, the power, the agency.”
It wasn’t a financial success either: the film’s budget was 3.4 million and only ended up bringing in about 21 million at the box office. Even with Smith and Jacob Latimore being the core actors of the film, most promotional material centered and featured other more mainstream stars like John Boyega and Anthony Mackie in hopes of drawing people in, which could have ended up actually hurting the film’s chances as those going to see it probably went with different expectations and were therefore left unsatisfied afterwards.
The film has just been re-released in ten cities and officially has ‘For Your Consideration’ ads as well. Besides Lead Actor, other hopeful nominations include Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for both/either John Boyega and Will Poulter.
Have you seen Detroit? If so, what did you think about Algee Smith’s performance? Tell us how you feel in the comments below!