Oscar-winning Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins has plenty to say about the legacy of James Baldwin in the new trailer for his likely Oscar contender If Beale Street Could Talk.
On Thursday, Annapurna released the first full-length trailer for the upcoming historical drama, based on Baldwin’s 44-year-old novel of the same name about a pregnant woman attempting to clear her falsely accused husband’s name after he’s incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit in 1970s Harlem.
While the preview offers a stunning glimpse at Jenkins’ critically lauded directorial style — praised by critics out of the film’s Toronto International Film Festival world premiere as an “inspired synesthesia” with a camera that resonates like “a rhythm” — the trailer also shows off the Oscar-primed chops of supporting actress Regina King. Fresh off her third Emmy win for her work on Netflix’s limited series Seven Seconds, King was heavily praised by film journalists and awards pundits at TIFF, with many tipping her as a legitimate contender in the best supporting actress race ahead.
Jenkins, too, could be looking at another major bid on the Oscar circuit, as the film currently sits at an 86 percent rating on Metacritic, indicating near universal acclaim for his follow-up to the best picture-winning masterpiece Moonlight.
“It all started in the summer of 2013 when I wrote these two screenplays. I always considered them like a pair or a duet, telling the same story but in two different worlds,” Jenkins previously told EW of penning Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk as companion pieces. “To be on set and see…. all these amazing actors perform some of these scenarios and scenes that were written in 1974, and it felt like we could walk off set and they would happen right there two blocks away today, I think that was proof positive of what I hope people take from the film. Which is [that] America has come a long way, there have been so many progresses that we’ve all made, yet there’s still so much farther to go. And if we don’t always pay attention to the distance we have to travel, we won’t get anywhere.”
If Beale Street Could Talk (also starring Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Diego Luna, Finn Wittrock, and Brian Tyree Henry) is slated to hit domestic screens on Nov. 30. Watch the new trailer above.