First screened in February 2016
Director: Dee Rees. TV Movie. Cast: Queen Latifah, Michael Kenneth Williams, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Mo'Nique, Khandi Alexander, Charles S. Dutton, Mike Epps, Kamryn Johnson, Sylvester Ambrose James II, Tia Hendricks, Cj Sykes, Joe Knezevich, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Jennifer Sears, Levi Erik. Screenplay: Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, and Bettina Gilois (from a prior, heavily rewritten screenplay by Horton Foote).

Twitter Capsule: I wanted to be more taken with it, though best scenes really sing. Edits, camera, story structure aren't always confident.

Second Capsule: Despite my ambivalent reaction to Bessie, it's quite something to see this story mounted, and Latifah's scene at the mirror is a knockout.

VOR:   Not just a biography but an entire, vibrant, paradox-laden milieu that movies have all but ignored. Worthy, occasionally galvanizing effort at making that all visible.

Photo © 2015 HBO Films/Flavor Unit/The Zanuck Company

Not yet reviewed in full. Grade: B–

Primetime Emmy Nominations and Winners:
Outstanding Television Movie
Outstanding Director (Limited Series/Movie): Dee Rees
Outstanding Actress (Limited Series/Movie): Queen Latifah
Outstanding Supporting Actress (Limited Series/Movie): Mo'Nique
Outstanding Supporting Actor (Limited Series/Movie): Michael Kenneth Williams
Outstanding Casting (Limited Series/Movie): Billy Hopkins and Jackie Burch
Outstanding Writing (Limited Series/Movie): Dee Rees, Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilois, and Horton Foote
Outstanding Cinematography (Limited Series/Movie): Jeffrey Jur
Outstanding Original Score (Limited Series/Movie/Special): Rachel Portman
Outstanding Sound Mixing (Limited Series/Movie): Jim Emswiller, Robert Fernandez, Damian Volpe, Ed Cherney, Evyen Klean
Outstanding Non-Prosthetic Makeup (Limited Series/Movie): Debi Young, Mi Young, Ngozi Olandu, Noel Hernandez, and Sian Richards
Outstanding Hairstyling (Limited Series/Movie): Lawrence Davis, Monty Schuth, Iasia Merriweather, and Victor I. Jones

Golden Globe Nominations:
Best Actress (Limited Series/TV Movie): Queen Latifah

Other Awards:
Screen Actors Guild Awards: Best Actress (TV Movie/Miniseries): Queen Latifah

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