Most people would call Will Smith a movie star and not an actor, because there’s still a clear difference between the two, despite the fact they both involve stepping in front of a camera pretending to be somebody else. Movie stars bring in the box office dollars, and actors reap awards season glory.
While Smith does have a pair of Oscar nods under his belt for But and The Pursuit of Happyness, he’s been much more comfortable and content in his wheelhouse as an action hero, using his megawatt charisma and screen presence to anchor a string of blockbuster behemoths. However, the early reactions to biopic King Richard look to have firmly established him as the one to beat in the Best Actor race.
The movie tells the story of how Venus and Serena Williams’ father predicted greatness from birth, taking his daughters from the streets of Compton to the top of the tennis world, training them to become two of the greatest players in history and hugely marketable names that inspired a generation.
The first trailer promised an emotionally powerful story, all held together by a transformative performance from the former Fresh Prince. He’s clearly gone all-in to deliver what’s already shaping up to be his best work yet in King Richard, and it looks like it could end up with a shiny gold statue or ten sitting on his mantle by the time next year’s awards season draws to a close.