*You would think the truth would be applauded but Columbia Picture’s presentation of Concussion starring two-time Academy Award winning Will Smith (Men in Black, Bad Boys, iRobot) reminds us where money is concerned the truth is the enemy. Regardless, in Concussion the truth in the form of medical evidence prevails. Concussion is based on a biographical book on Dr, Bennet Omalu by Jeanne Marie Laskas who also wrote the GQ Expose’ article on the forensic pathologist’s ordeal with the NFL (and FBI) which gave him the national exposure he needed.
Dr. Omalu’s ordeal began when he published medical evidence that linked brain damage with professional football playing after the death of several veteran players. The first death was NFL veteran Mike Webster, played by Emmy nominated David Morse (12 Monkeys, John Adams). Dr. Omalu personally paid for an extensive autopsy on Webster in order to find the reason why he died. Preliminary findings told him how he died but he wanted to know why it happened. Five-time Golden Globe nominated Will Smith is Dr. Bennet Omalu and as always he gives a stellar and memorable performance. The way Smith delivered the script line “tell the truth” at the NFL head-executive will certainly be the message the audience will take from this film.
Harassing calls, death threats, stalkers and FBI probing and immigration threats to the Nigerian born doctor, who holds eight Degrees, would not stop him from continuing to publish the evidence and telling everyone about the medical evidence of brain damage as a result of years playing professional football. His family, friends and associates were targeted also, but even they supported his affords to tell the world the truth. His persistence and the mounting number of similar deaths pushed the NFL seven years later to admit publicly that there is a link.
Three-time Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin (The Shadow, The Aviator) plays Dr. Julian Bailes a neurosurgeon and concussion researcher, who once worked for the NFL, backed Dr. Omalu’s evidence. He even presented the medical findings for Dr. Omalu to his former associates at the NFL. Concussion also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Star Wars: Episode VIII) as Dr. Omalu’s wife Prema Mutiso; Albert Brooks as Cyril H. Wecht, MD, JD a Forensic Consultant advising Dr. Omalu whom the FBI targeted in an attempt to get him to recant his claims; Arliss Howard as Dr. Joseph Maroon; Paul Reiser as the NFL Commissioner Dr. Elliot Pellman; Luke Wilson as Roger Goodell; Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as NFL veteran Dave Duerson; Hill Harper as Christopher Jones (NFL official); Eddie Marsan as Dr. Steven Dekosky; Matt Willig as Justin Strzelczyk, and Mike O’Malley as Daniel Sullivan.
Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is currently the chief medical examiner of San Joaquin, CA, partnered with Dr. Julian Bailes and lawyer Robert P. Fitzsimmons to form the Brain Injury Research Institution, a brain and tissue bank. A LStar Capital, Village Roadside Pictures, Scott Free Productions, The Shuman Co., Cara Films, and the Cantillon Company production Concussion is Rated PG-13 and arrives in theaters December 25, 2015.
SAG Awards’ Nominations led by Netflix, Universal and Idris Elba, winners announced January 30, 2016 on TNT and TBS
*I attended the early morning SAG Award Nominations’ announcements in West Hollywood hosted by Oscar nominated Anna Faris (Scary Movie, The House Bunny) and Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Falcon, Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Netflix led the nominations with eight for Outstanding Network Programs, Universal Pictures followed with six for Outstanding Motion Picture Films, and for actors Idris Elba (“Beast of No Nation”) led with three. The winners will be announced live on TNT and TBS simultaneously at 8 p.m. ET on January 30, 2016 at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.
The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will also honor Emmy and five-time Golden Globe winner Carol Burnett with the 2015 SAG Lifetime Achievement Award. She will join Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple and Sidney Poitier of the 51 previous recipients. Burnett was honor for being a comedic trailblazer, actress, singer, dancer, producer and author. The SAG Award is received only by SAG-AFTRA members and they are the only ones that can vote on nominations and winners. This year marks the 19th year the awards have been telecasted on TNT and this year it will be telecast internationally, as well as to U.S. military installations overseas through the American Forces Network Broadcast Center.
Netflix led the nominations because of such SAG member favorites as “Beast of No Nation,” “Orange is the New Black,” and “House of Cards.” Universal Pictures followed Netflix with the most nominations of a motion picture company because of projects that include Straight Outta Compton, Furious 7, Steve Jobs, and Jurassic World. Of the actor nominations Idris Elba led with three because of his roles in “Beast of No Nation” and “Luther.” In addition Comedy Central’s Key & Peele received their first SAG Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.” Other nominees that are favorites of mine include Queen Latifah for HBO’s “Bessie” and Brad Pitt for his role in Paramount Picture’s The Big Short.
The Screen Actors Guild Post-Awards Gala benefiting the SAG-AFTRA Foundation will be hosted for the 20th consecutive year by People Magazine and Entertainment Industry Foundation. For more information about the SAG Awards, SAG Post Awards Gala, SAG-AFTRA membership, TNT or TBS visit www.SAGAwards.org/About.
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENT: Sat April 16, 2016 the “Uplifting Minds II” Free Entertainment Conference founded by Moseley arrives in Baltimore at Security Square Mall and Sat October 22, 2016 (TBC) the “Uplifting Minds II” Free Entertainment Conference at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, CA. www.UpliftingMinds2.com.)