The Academy has already made changes to allow more films to qualify for an Oscar next year, but “starring Jennifer Hudson as a musical legend in a singing role” is all the help Respect needs. The latest teaser for the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, dropped during Sunday’s BET Awards, however, highlights more than just the singer’s fame, giving us glimpses of Franklin’s burgeoning ambition, her striving for civil rights, and, yes, okay, those soaring vocals. The Queen of Soul handpicked Jennifer Hudson to play her in a movie long before she died in August 2018 and, from the trailer, it’s clear why. The pipes, ladies and gentlemen, the pipes. And that was only, like, 30 seconds of “Respect!”
No one but her own hologram could come close to touching Aretha Franklin, but J.Hud has a lot of practice honoring the Detroit native. She sang at CBS’s Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul, Clive Davis’s tribute to her, and at the legendary performer’s funeral. Respect is directed by noted stage director Liesl Tommy. It also stars [deep breath] Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige. MGM currently plans to release the film this December (prime awards season release time), and we hope we’ll be able to line up then to pay Aretha, and J. Hud, more than a little Respect.