A day after Viola Davis won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her deeply emotional role in Fences alongside Denzel Washington, it was announced Julia Roberts and Davis will co-star in Small Great Things, a drama film with very serious subject matter. The film is based on the novel by the same name by Jodi Picoult and will be from one of Picoult's previous collaborators, Amblin Partners. Like Picoult's other book-turned-to-film, My Sister's Keeper, which follows two young sisters dealing with their parents' overbearing desire to keep the eldest sister, a leukemia patient, alive at the cost of the youngest sister — this new drama focuses on the intricacies of medical legislation.
In Small Great Things, Davis will play Ruth Jefferson, a nurse in labor and delivery who has been taking care of newborns at a Connecticut hospital for years. She is ordered by the hospital to respect the wishes of a white supremacist couple and not touch their new baby. In the novel, Jefferson is alone with the babies in the nursery when White Supremacist Baby goes into cardiac arrest. Based on her previous orders, she hesitates and the baby dies. When the baby's parents sue the nurse they wouldn't allow to touch their baby, she works with a white public defender, Kennedy McQuarrie, who strongly believes they shouldn't even mention race in the trial.
It's not clear yet who Roberts will play, but the actor should feel right at home as a lawyer with her previous work in the law-heavy drama Erin Brockovich. It would certainly be interesting seeing Roberts play a white supremacist, but a public defender certainly seems more on brand.
Small Great Things has Academy Awards written all over it. Roberts and Davis have seven Oscar nominations between the two of them. Meanwhile Roberts won Best Actress for Erin Brockovich and Davis has been winning awards for Fences since she performed in it on Broadway. Adding even more fodder into the Academy Award cannon, Marc Platt, the producer behind the zillion-times Oscar nominated La La Land (OK, it's only 14 nominations but that's a number that's only been matched by Titanic and All About Eve, which is pretty crazy, right?) will be producing through his company, Mark Platt Productions alongside his often-collaborator Adam Siegel. With those combined talents and the content, Small Great Things has the perfect recipe for an Oscar.
No matter how many nominations it gets, Small Great Things is bound to be an emotional roller coaster. I am so ready.