Can we trust Emancipation buzz passed along by Variety columnist Clayton Davis, who’s demonstrated time and again that he’s something of a cheerleader when it comes to BIPOC-related features and performances?

I’m not dismissing what Clayton is saying, of course, but it might be a good idea to take it with a grain.

What is Clayton asserting exactly? In a recent ‘The Take’ video Clayton says that Antoine Fuqua’s film (theatrical 12.2, Appl+ streaming on 12.9) is “supposed to be pretty great…Fuqua’s best, in fact…very gritty, very dark…even more graphic that 12 Years A Slave.”

The money quotes run from 3:42 to 4:14.

In short, Clayton wants to see the film nominated for Best Picture, Fuqua nominated for Best Director and…what can Will Smith be nominated for again? I’m not sure. If Emancipation were to win the Best Picture Oscar, Smith, one of the film’s four producers (along with Todd Black, Joey McFarland and Jon Mone), could technically stride onstage and co-accept the award…right? (Or do I have that wrong?) Smith can’t win for Best Actor because he’s resigned from the Academy…correct? But he can be nominated…is that right?

The “more graphic than 12 Years A Slave‘ remark suggests that Fuqua, whose aesthetic instincts have never been on the lofty Tarkovsky or Kubrick side, decided to out-gun Steve McQueen’s 2013 Oscar-winner with the graphic material because one thing he doesn’t want people saying is ‘it’s less graphic than 12 Years A Slave.’