“Zendaya could steal the Best Actress Oscar”: the first reactions to ‘Malcolm & Marie’ are in

"The two bring devotion and energy to their roles, both of which can find room in the Oscars race"

The first reactions to Zendaya and John David Washington’s new Netflix film Malcolm & Marie are in.

The black-and-white film, written and directed by Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson, will be released worldwide on the streaming platform on February 5.

Ahead of the release, a special screening was held on Friday (January 8), with critics now sharing their first impressions of the film.


“Zendaya runs away with Sam Levinson’s black-and-white Cassavetes-inspired two hander Malcolm & Marie,” IndieWire’s Anne Thompson wrote on Twitter. “She could steal the Best Actress Oscar from another Netflix contender, Viola Davis, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. It’s a two way race now. Wow.”

John David Washington and Zendaya are fire in MALCOLM & MARIE,” Clayton Davis added. “The two bring devotion and energy to their roles, both of which can find room in the #Oscars race.”

See more first reactions to Malcolm & Marie below.


The plot synopsis for Malcolm & Marie reads: “When filmmaker Malcolm (John David Washington) and his girlfriend Marie (Zendaya), return home from a movie premiere and await his film’s critical response, the evening takes a turn as revelations about their relationship surface, testing the couple’s love.”

Watch the trailer for Malcolm & Marie below.

At a Q&A following the screening, Levinson said of the project: “I needed a catalyst for it: What’s a really terrible thing a person can do to their partner? Here’s the truth: I forgot to thank [Ashley Levinson, his wife] at the premiere of Assassination Nation, which was a brutal film to edit, and she was upset. I felt very guilty about it.

“Supposedly, we only talked about it on the car ride home. In my head, I imagined we’d had 1,000 conversations about it. I took that as the catalyst for this piece.”

Zendaya added: “As soon as [Levinson] talked about shooting it in black and white, trying to create a skeleton crew, it sounded incredible while sounding equally terrifying, because I’ve never had the opportunity to be involved with something from its inception.”