Nelson Mandela, ailing in South Africa, is currently being heralded in Hollywood, with the film Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom, starring Idris ElbaSidney Poitier is set to host a special screening tonight, Nov. 13 at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the showbiz talk is that this Harvey Weinstein backed film is the one to beat in the race to Oscar. It’s consistently been getting standing ovations from audiences on the festival circuit.

Affectionally called Madiba, Mandela is, at the age of 95, sadly ailing with reported dementia and diabetes. The interest in his turbulent and fascinating life does not seem to abate. The Weinstein Company hosted a screening of the film Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom, based on the book, at a recent Los Angeles Premiere at the world famous Cinerama Dome in the heart of Hollywood.

Zindzi Mandela, Nelson and Winnie Mandela’s daughter, attended for her family. She was the gracious host of the screening and the after party at the Warwick on Sunset Boulevard. The industry heavy crowd included the talented actress Taraj Henson, currently on J.J. Abrams hit CBS show, Person Of Interest, Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr, and David Oyelowo, who could become a nominee himself for his searing portrayal of Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey’s son in another Weinstein project, The Butler.

Music icon Quincy Jones introduced Zindzi by saying, “I can’t believe this little girl I knew has grown up so beautifully.” Zindzi then said, “On behalf of my father, mother and my family, this is an incredible movie. I only hope that this film inspires others to overcome their own challenges with peace and hope.”

Idris Elba, who is just plain amazing as Mandela, gave tribute to the film’s director, Justin Chadwick saying, “Well done man.  You made it happen.” David Thompson, a Producer of the film and CEO of the UK based Origin Pictures said, “It’s been an extraordinary experience and an incredible privilege to work on this film. Mandela is one of the only political figures whose image has not been tarnished, whom people are not disillusioned with.  His story is so worth telling because the younger generation really doesn’t know his story at all.  The hope is to bring his story to a whole new generation of people who know nothing about him. He’s the one person whom people still believe in. He’s the only person in history who’s managed to create a political revolution without the result being hatred and revenge.” Well said, David.  Long live Mandiba!

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