Just in time for the March 27 Oscars, King Richard is available again on HBO Max—and a last minute viewing is mandatory. It seems like this, the year of our lord 2022, may be the ceremony where Will Smith finally snags a statue. The actor has been overlooked by the Academy for far too long. Twenty (!) years ago, back in his Ali days, Smith went head-to-head with Denzel Washington for that Oscars season, but he ultimately lost. This year’s biopic of massive proportions hints at a different ending, though.
In King Richard, Smith plays Richard Williams, the famed father and coach of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. Along with critics, the family sports drama even got the seal of approval from the Williams sisters—and the real life Rick Macci.
Focusing on the early years of the Williams sisters’ careers, King Richard doesn’t get into the double-digit slam-winning athletic careers. Instead, it focuses on their lives in Compton, California before the girls struck it big and dominated the international tennis circuit. As for the drama, the story wades into the murky territory of Venus’s past snafus with her father and the pressures of competing at such a high level at such a young age. It also poignantly wrestles with the extra scrutiny endured from being two up and coming young Black women in a sport teeming with white athletes.
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That seal of approval from Serena and Venus? It didn’t come without them seeing the film first, so you know there’s an extra bit of insurance when it comes to the authenticity of the story. Come Sunday night when the Oscars kick off, you can bet you’ll be hearing more about the movie. So the time to catch-up and watch the dang thing is now.
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