Neon has released the first trailer for Chinonye Chukwu‘s acclaimed death row drama Clemency, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance earlier this year, making her the first black woman to win top honors at that festival.
Alfre Woodard has earned rave reviews for her turn as prison warden Bernadine Williams. Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on Bernadine and as she prepares to execute another inmate, she must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.
Aldis Hodge plays the condemned prisoner, and the rest of the supporting cast includes Richard Schiff, Wendell Pierce, Danielle Brooks and Richard Gunn. Woodard and Hodge are expected to be in the thick of the awards race this fall, and while the latter actor is a rising star in search of his first nomination, Woodard was actually nominated once before, for 1983’s Cross Creek. In the interim, she has won four Emmys and a Golden Globe, so she is well-respected by her peers.
Neon is preparing for a busy fall, as the boutique distributor will also be releasing Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite and Celine Sciamma’s romantic drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire. That’s a strong trio of awards contenders right there for Neon, which also released the best movie I’ve seen all year in Wild Rose. There are also wonderful performances in Luce, Little Woods and The Beach Bum, while documentaries Apollo 11 and Biggest Little Farm both scored with audiences, so who knows what nominations the Academy will bestow upon Neon’s slate.
Neon will release Clemency in theaters on Dec. 27, making it the last — but certainly not least — release of 2019. Judging from the trailer below, it looks like we’ll be ending the year with a thought-provoking bang about capital punishment. If that’s the kind of subject that interests you, check out this trailer for Ed Zwick‘s Trial by Fire starring Jack O’Connell and Laura Dern.