‘One Night in Miami’: Could Regina King get an Oscar for directing?
Regina King has an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and four Primetime Emmys to her name as an actress. As a director, King’s skills are now being discussed in Oscar circles for her adaptation of Kemp Powers’s debut 2013 play One Night in Miami.
With Martin Luther King Day freshly behind us, Regina King’s lauded debut as a female African-American director is perfect timing for an awards season continuing to reckon with its recognition of black excellence in all forms of media. The subject matter of One Night In Miami is equally timely as its characters contemplate their roles in the civil rights movement of the 60s.
One Night in Miami centers around a fictionalized anecdote from 1964 recounting a hotel gathering in Miami between larger-than-life luminaries of the black community: soul singer Sam Cooke, NFL player Jim Brown, political activist Malcolm X, and boxer Cassius Clay who at the time had not yet chosen the name Muhammad Ali. Throughout the film, the four men openly ponder their place as black men in a racist white world.
While no one knows exactly what was said to one another that night, their larger-than-life personalities give us more than a few ideas as to what may have been said within those four walls. Under Regina King’s direction, the result is a fusion of fiction with fact that may prove Oscar-worthy in a few months’ time.
Real recognizes real
While we won’t spoil anything for you, rest assured you’ll come to know these men for their contributions to history no matter how unfamiliar you may be with black history. Time Magazine expressed the movie gets off to a rather uncertain start, but puts the power squarely in the characters’ hands in rich visual texture.
When it comes to Leslie Odom Jr.’s portrayal of iconic soul singer Sam Cooke, Regina King’s direction turned his conversations with Kingsley Ben-Adir’s Malcolm X into some of the highest points of the film. Indeed, many Oscar conversations largely centered around the bittersweet tension King creates between the two characters, knowing that they will be assassinated less than a year after the events of One Night In Miami.
Soon to be Ali
The theater-esque vibe of the entire film taking place in one setting, married with the subtle power dynamics between the film’s characters quickly made Regina King’s film the talk of the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival. The four men’s discussion is wide ranging, particularly when it comes to mental health.
Malcolm X was known for being a spiritual mentor to his friend Cassius Clay, played by Eli Goree in the film. Clay has just won his heavyweight fight against Sonny Liston to become the newest world champion, and is on the verge of converting to the Nation of Islam under a new name, Muhammad Ali. Under Malcolm’s guidance, we see flashes of growth that may or may not have helped fuel the brash attitude Ali became known for.
King of the screen
With the Academy Awards only a few months away at the end of April, Regina King has been contemplating the implications of an Oscar win much more than the win itself.
“I do feel like we’ve got a long way to go, but something does feel like there’s a groundswell of people that seem to have been energized,” King said in an interview with USA Today. “And hopefully our energy will not wane. We will be able to continue using our platforms, using whatever it is within us.”
Do you think Regina King has what it takes to snatch an Oscar? Let us know in the comments!