Oscar Watch: Patriots Day

Just two months back, director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg collaborated on the timely Deepwater Horizon, which opened to decent box office numbers and reviews but little Oscar hope (save for some potential recognition in the Sound categories). Last night at the AFI Film Festival, their third team-up (the other was 2013’s Lone Survivor) was unveiled in the form of Patriots Day.

Another timely drama – Day focuses on the Boston Marathon bombing and the city’s law enforcement and political response to the tragedy. Wahlberg headlines a cast that includes John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Bacon, and Michelle Monaghan. The reported response from the AFI crowd was overwhelmingly positive and early critical reaction puts it at 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus? “It gets the job done.”

So where does this information put Patriots Day in the Oscar derby? I would say as an outside contender. I had yet to put the picture into consideration in my top 20 possibilities for a nomination, but it’s feasible that it could slide in towards the bottom next week. It certainly seems more likely for a nod than Deepwater. And don’t be shocked if Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross get some love for their score, which has already been singled out in some reviews.

Time will tell if this manages to become more of a realistic possibility as the weeks move along.

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