‘King Richard’ Catapults Will Smith to Front of Best Actor Race, with Across-the-Board Recognition Possible

King Richard, a hugely tear-jerking and crowd-pleasing drama about how the father of tennis legends Venus Williams and Serena Williams set them on their path to greatness, wowed the Galaxy Theatre audience at its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Thursday night.

It strikes me as being bound for major awards recognition, first and foremost for lead actor Will Smith, who plays the eponymous Richard Williams, but quite possibly extending across-the-board and up to best picture (for which Smith, as a producer, is also eligible; the Williams sisters are executive producers).

Many people know the broad outlines of the story: a working-class husband and father who loved tennis, but had little personal experience playing it, guided two of his five daughters from the courts of Compton to the top of the sport by stubbornly sticking to a “plan” that he had mapped out before they were even born.

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