Sorkin’s film is a serious Best Picture contender but not Mangrove because of Amazon’s decision to submit the entire “Small Axe” series for Emmy consideration. Had fate allowed Mangrove to become a Best Picture contender, the Oscar handicap narrative would have been “which of these highly similar courtroom dramas is superior? Which do you prefer?”
Both are about (a) landmark trials involving police brutality in the general time frame of the late ’60s and early ’70s, (b) activist defendants and flame-fanning media coverage, (c) an imperious, disapproving judge (Mangrove‘s Alex Jennings = Chicago 7‘s Frank Langella), (d) a passionate barrister for the defense (Jack Lowden as a kind of British Bill Kuntsler), and (e) a decisive verdict or narrative aftermath that exposed institutional bias.
On 12.30 Showbiz 411‘s Roger Friedman said more or less the same thing — that Mangrove would have been a dynamic Best Picture contender if it had been submitted as a stand-alone feature, etc.
Now that the HE community has seen both and thought them through, what’s the general feeling or preference? Chicago 7 or Mangrove, and why?