Oscar Watch: Midnight Special

Two years ago, the Berlin Film Festival premiered a pair of films that garnered a total of 15 Oscar nominations – Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Both were nominated for Best Picture.

One of the hottest titles to emerge from 2016’s Festival that could potentially merit Academy Awards chatter is Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special, a science fiction drama that received glowing reviews. Nichols is the director behind critical darlings Take Shelter and Mud. His pictures have yet to receive awards attention, but that may finally change. Special stars Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, and Jaeden Lieberher (the child actor who costarred alongside Bill Murray in St. Vincent).

With an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is said to be a throwback to 80s sci-fi efforts of Spielberg and John Carpenter. Reviews have especially made note of Shannon and Dunst’s work, who could be factors in the Actor and Supporting Actress races, respectively. Best Picture and Director could figure in, however I believe Special‘s best chance might be in Original Screenplay, penned by the director.

Obviously it’s early in 2016 to see how this will pan out. Yet if Special can manage solid box office grosses (a question mark) and remain in conversations over the remainder of the year, it could join Hotel and Boyhood as another Berlin success story.

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