Amazon Prime Video suddenly adds top 2024 Oscar contender out of the blue

 American Fiction.
American Fiction.
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QUICK SUMMARY

One of 2024's Best Picture Oscar nominees, American Fiction has just dropped on Amazon Prime Video. It's a wickedly funny and poignant comedy drama that you need to watch.

It's the biggest show in Hollywood this weekend (the Oscars of course) but you need to make time to watch one film before Sunday's show. Did you know that Amazon Prime Video has just added one of the movies up for the most prestigious gong, Best Picture, to the platform?

The streaming service has just given us American Fiction, a superbly funny satire that stars Jeffrey Wright (also up for Best Actor) as author Thelonious 'Monk' Ellison. His works are academic fare, critically praised but a commercial disaster. His publisher is looking to move on from him and instead focus on more 'Black voices'. The kicker? Monk himself is Black, it's just that his academic lifestyle and high-achieving family (his sister and brother are both doctors) don't match the story that the world wants to hear.

In anger and desperate need of money, Monk writes a ridiculous pastiche of what people are looking for, assuming it to be unpublishable. Of course, they all take it seriously and consider it his masterpiece. Despite his frustrations and attempts to make the work unpublishable, the novel is a runaway financial and critical success and Monk's pseudonym becomes hot property in the literary world.

It's a genius premise and a very funny movie that manages the balancing act between message and entertainment factor perfectly. It reminds me of a reverse Sorry To Bother You (another amazing movie) in which LaKeith Stanfield is required to put on a 'white voice' to succeed at work.

Based on Percival Everett's 2001 novel Erasure this is unbelievably writer/director Cord Jefferson's debut film and that should be a name to keep a close eye on in the future. It's equally hard to believe but this is Jeffrey Wright's first Oscar nomination, he's had some excellent turns in supporting roles before (think Felix Leiter in Bond and as a pushy general in Source Code) but it's great to see him given a lead role.

We've got plenty of Oscars coverage here at T3, including a guide for how to watch 5 other films nominated for this year's awards.