After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, the film Mudbound has been receiving much attention, critical acclaim and plenty of Oscar buzz. In fact, there is already talk that the film may bring home at least a few awards. Some have already suggested that director Dee Rees could potentially win the award for Best Director, which would make her the first African-American female to win the award and only the second female ever.
Featuring fantastic performances by Carey Mulligan and Mary J. Blige amongst others, Mudbound is an epic tale focused around poverty and race relations in the post-World War II Mississippi Delta. Based on the Hillary Jordan novel of the same name, the film centers around two families, one black and one white, struggling to carve out a meager living on their farms. Poignantly, the film focuses particularly on the racial divisions present at that time, and the film’s message seems even more relevant considering the current political climate and major divisions being once again brought to the forefront in America.
Both Mulligan and Blige have received rave reviews for their performances, and both were specifically chosen by Rees for their ability to convey a wide range of emotions and deep feeling. Rees’ script is also incredibly rich and delves deeply into the issues faced by families at that time, many of which echo the issues currently being faced by many.
Following its premiere at Sundance, Netflix eventually agreed to pick up the film for $12.5 million—only $500,000 more than the film was shot for. Still, Rees was initially worried that no studio would be willing to finance the film’s release after originally receiving no offers despite the incredibly positive audience response. Nonetheless, Netflix approached Rees on the final day of the festival, and it now appears that the move will be a good one for all parties involved.
Should Mudbound successfully garner any major awards, it would mark the first time that the streaming service’s film division breaks into the Oscars. In this sense, it seems that Mudbound is also representative of a fundamental change that is quickly occurring in the entertainment industry, as giants like Netflix and Amazon Studios are suddenly showing themselves as major players in both film and television.
After its premiere at Sundance, Mudbound has been making the film festival circuit and is now set to be available to the general public in November. It was recently announced that the film will open at the AFI Fest on Nov. 9 in Los Angeles. Mudbound will then be shown in selected theaters around the country beginning on Nov. 17, the same day that Netflix also begins streaming the film.