Entertainment

Hulu acquires Lee Daniels biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday starring Andra Day

Hulu acquires Lee Daniels biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday starring Andra Day as the jazz and blues great

Hulu is likely hoping it will a contender this upcoming awards season with its acquisition of Lee Daniels’ new Billie Holiday biopic.

The streaming service is finalizing a deal for the domestic distribution rights to The United States vs. Billie Holiday starring Andra Day, Variety reported last week.

Paramount Pictures had moved to acquire the film back in May but it’s thought the studio never closed the deal as the pandemic raged on and forced cinemas to shutter.

Major buy: Hulu is finalizing a deal for the domestic distribution rights to The United States vs. Billie Holiday starring Andra Day (pictured), Variety reported last week

By going to Hulu, it’s likely that the movie will be able to premiere early next year in time to qualify for the 2021 Academy Awards. 

The film marks the movie debut of the Grammy-nominated R&B singer Day, 36.

She plays the jazz and blues great at the time when she was targeted in an undercover sting by the Federal Department of Narcotics.

Awards contender: The biopic about the legendary jazz and blues singer (pictured in 1947) could now be released  on the streaming service in time for Oscar consideration

Awards contender: The biopic about the legendary jazz and blues singer (pictured in 1947) could now be released  on the streaming service in time for Oscar consideration

Helmer: The United States vs. Billie Holiday is directed by Lee Daniels, who received an Oscar nomination for directing for his 2009 movie Precious

Helmer: The United States vs. Billie Holiday is directed by Lee Daniels, who received an Oscar nomination for directing for his 2009 movie Precious

In May, 1947, Holiday was arrested for possession of narcotics and after pleading guilty, spent almost a year in federal prison.

The prosecution derailed her career, but following her release from prison she staged a comeback.

However, Holiday continued to struggle with alcohol and drug addiction as well as legal issues, and she passed away in 1959 at the age of 44.

Her life was also the subject of the 1972 biopic Lady Sings The Blues starring Diana Ross as the jazz great. The film earned five Academy Award nominations including best actress for Ross. 

True story: Grammy-nominated R&B singer Day, 36, makes her feature film debut as Holiday in the drama that focuses on how Holiday was targeted by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

True story: Grammy-nominated R&B singer Day, 36, makes her feature film debut as Holiday in the drama that focuses on how Holiday was targeted by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

Prior film: Holiday's life was also the subject of the 1972 biopic Lady Sings The Blues starring Diana Ross. The film earned five Academy Award nominations including best actress for Ross

Prior film: Holiday’s life was also the subject of the 1972 biopic Lady Sings The Blues starring Diana Ross. The film earned five Academy Award nominations including best actress for Ross

Daniels, 61, has a track record when it comes to Oscar; his 2009 film Precious was nominated for best picture and he was nominated for best director, and he produced 2001’s Monster’s Ball which won Halle Berry a best actress award. 

Speaking to Essence in November, Daniels, who also created the hit Fox TV series Empire, described Holiday as ‘a human being with problems.’

He explained: ‘Though she was an addict, she didn’t always want to be….. I think that she was a bad*** and needs to be honored.’ 

Tragic: In 1947, Holiday was arrested for possession of narcotics and spent almost a year in federal prison. She continued to battle drug and alcohol addiction and died at age 44 in 1959

Tragic: In 1947, Holiday was arrested for possession of narcotics and spent almost a year in federal prison. She continued to battle drug and alcohol addiction and died at age 44 in 1959

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