There are observations afoot that Will Smith delivers an award-worthy performance as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the real-life forensic pathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in Peter Landesman‘s Concussion (Sony, 12.25). The NFL-related drama will premiere at AFI Fest on Tuesday, 11.10.
Smith is said to be a near-lock for a Best Actor nomination, but I don’t know. For one thing the film is said to have a strong “faith” undercurrent…whatever that means. I’ll see Concussion, of course, but my basic attitude is that I’d prefer to avoid any film that deals with faith (a term that belongs to the Christian right) in any context.
When a friend shared this info, I replied as follows: “In my eyes (and, I suspect, in the eyes of many SAG and Academy members) Smith is regarded as an eccentric-orbit kind of guy. Almost in the Tom Cruise realm. Smith has a great flashy smile and knows how to work this town socially, but he hasn’t paid his serious-movie dues…not really. He’s basically a micro-manager who (a) tends to favor light escapism and (b) has starred in only one critically-acclaimed film — 1993’s Six Degrees of Separation — over his entire career.
On top of which Smith has made some unbecoming role choices over the past six or seven years (Seven Pounds, Men in Black 3, After Earth, Winter’s Tale, Focus). Not to mention the example of his ridiculously spoiled son Jaden or Smith’s alleged former ties to Scientology. He’s a tangle — no doubt about it.