Earlier this year, I wrote an Oscar Watch post for the Jeff Nichols sci-fi drama Midnight Special, which premiered to mostly positive feedback at the Berlin Film Festival. Yet since then – it was released to soft box office numbers and its awards prospects have considerably dimmed.
Nichols, director of acclaimed pics such as Take Shelter and Mud, may have another Oscar ace up his sleeve though as Special is not his only 2016 feature. His 1950s set interracial romance Loving has just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and early word is encouraging. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star as a Virginia couple whose marital union was illegal at the time. Both performances are garnering strong notices and it’s possible that both could find themselves factors in the Actor and Actress categories. Frequent Nichols collaborator Michael Shannon has a supporting role that’s said to be too small for any legit chance in Supporting Actor.
Helping even further, Focus Features has set a U.S. release date of November 4, right in the heart of Oscar season. If Loving is able to break through with audiences in the way it’s currently doing with the festival crowd overseas, it could find itself receiving Academy love in the Picture and Director races, too. Time will tell.