Denzel Washington has just thrown his hat into the Oscar ring in a big way. Paramount Pictures has just released the first trailer for Fences, which the two-time Academy Award winner both directed and starred in. By the looks of things, this movie could be a major awards season contender and a massive showcase for Denzel Washington to display what he is capable of both in front of and behind the camera.

Paramount uploaded the teaser trailer to their YouTube channel on Tuesday, giving all of us our first good look at what will surely be one of the most buzzed about movies this Winter. Fences tells the story of a former baseball player named Troy (Denzel Washington) who is trying to raise and support his family in the 1950s, a time where the United States was very racially charged. He encounters struggles while trying to raise his son Cory (Jovan Adepo) who wants to play college football, while also dealing with his complex relationship with his wife Rose (Viola Davis). Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the 2010 revival of the play, earning Tony Awards for their performances.

Fences is based on the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play by August Wilson, who also wrote the screenplay for the movie. This marks the first time that Denzel Washington has stepped behind the camera to direct a movie since his 2007 effort The Great Debaters. In the time since, he has focused quite a bit on acting in action movies like 2 Guns, The Book of Eli, The Equalizer and most recently the remake of The Magnificent Seven. The last time he was in a movie that garnered serious awards consideration was in 2012 when he starred in the Robert Zemeckis movie Flight, which earned him a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars that year.

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Paramount will have a few movies out this year that will be awards season hopefuls. Along with Fences, the studio will also be distributing the highly-anticipated Martin Scorsese movie Silence, which also has an Oscar-friendly, limited release date in late December. The studio is likely hoping that these movies will have some commercial appeal as well, as they have had some serious bombs this year like Ben-Hur and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. While we don't know how wide of a release Fences will be getting initially, it is set for release on Christmas Day on December 25. It wall face some heavy competition on its initial release, as a lot of blockbuster movies such as Passengers, Assassin's Creed and Rogue one: A Star Wars Story will all be out in theaters at that time.

Denzel Washington is no stranger to awards season, but as a director, he has yet to hit it out of the park. The early buzz on Fences is highly positive and this trailer gives us every reason to believe that he may have finally nailed it. It also doesn't hurt that he has the talents of a fellow Oscar winner in Viola Davis to bring this critically-acclaimed play to the big screen. You can check out the first trailer for Fences for yourself below.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott