Our ongoing celebration of the best from the world of film in 2016 continues with our ranking of the finest movie posters of the year. In the gallery above you’ll see our picks for the 25 best. They range from massive hits to to tiny indie releases; we decided not to limit our list just to huge commercial successes. We don’t determine a movie’s quality by its box office totals. Why should we determine a poster’s quality that way?
The Birth of a Nation
Six months ago, this looked like a very different weekend at the box office. While the strong start for The Girl on the Train isn’t surprising, the weak opening for The Birth of a Nation reflects how the film, once seen as a surefire Oscar-contender, has been affected by a series of real world controversies. There’s an alternate timeline out there where it’s a sizable hit. Instead, the adaptation of a popular mystery novel starring Emily Blunt gets its picture at the top of this article.
When Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last January, it got a standing ovation before its premiere. People were excited to see this movie. Nine months later, the reaction to its arrival in theaters is a little bit different.
The controversy surrounding The Birth of a Nation has soured the wild success of what very well could be one of this year’s Oscar contenders. After the news went public that the director and star Nate Parker had been accused of raping a classmate when he was in college at Penn State, but then was acquitted, it was all anyone could talk about in reference to the film. Parker himself has answered questions about it in interviews before and seems very open to discuss the incident, although careful never to admit guilt, and now CBS has posted a preview clip of their 60 Minutes interview with him that will air this weekend.
Y’know those back to school ads for Staples? The ones that repurpose the Christmas standard “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” to celebrate children going back class? I always hated those ads as a kid. Going back to school was not a time to celebrate. It was a time for grief and mourning.
Fox Searchlight may be continuing their fall release plans for Nate Parker‘s ‘The Birth of the Nation,’ but that doesn’t mean other early screenings will go according to plan. The American Film Institute announced on Tuesday they’ve canceled a planned screening of this film this Friday in wake of Parker’s 1999 sexual assault case that’s recently garnered attention, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Fox Searchlight’s awards season plans for The Birth of a Nation have grown increasingly complicated in recent weeks, as reports surfaced revealing that the director and star of the historical drama has a troubled history of his own. Although details of Nate Parker’s alleged involvement and subsequent acquittal in a 1999 sexual assault was available to the public (it’s on his Wikipedia page) before the studio acquired the rights to distribute the Sundance hit, it was only recently that the case became a point of controversy. Despite all of this, according to Fox Searchlight, their plans to release the film in October have not changed.
As soon as Nate Parker’s ‘The Birth of a Nation’ premiered at Sundance earlier this year, the film immediately joined the Oscar conversation. Sometimes film festival praise can be excessive, but by the looks of the first teaser trailer and the latest full trailer for the movie, it’s easy to see why Parker’s passion project has garnered so much awards buzz already.
There’s a quote, apparently apocryphal, attributed to President Woodrow Wilson about D.W. Griffith’s silent epic, The Birth of a Nation. "It is like writing history with lightning,” Wilson allegedly said of the film ever screened at the White House. For all of its technical achievements, Griffith’s movie was horrifically racist, and depicted “heroic” members of the Ku Klux Klan saving Southerners from blacks (actually white actors in blackface).
Nate Parker's The Birth of a Nation has been the talk of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival over the past week, from its premiere on January 25 to its record-breaking sale to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million. We may very well be looking at an early Oscar contender for next year's awards, as Parker's telling of Nat Turner's slave rebellion has left a huge impression on critics and audiences at the festival. The film won both the Grand Jury and Audience awards at Sundance, with Anthony Weiner doc Weiner picking up the Grand Jury documentary prize, and Swiss Army Man grabbing a Jury award for Best Directing.