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One of the most anticipated films of the awards season has dropped its first trailer. Manchester by the Sea, from writer-director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret), details the story of Lee Chandler (Oscar-nominee Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), a handyman whose brother suddenly dies, leaving him with the potential guardianship of his nephew (Lucas Hedges, in a breakout performance). The familiar strains of family and tragedy earmark this, only the third film in Lonergan’s canon, as circumstance creates responsibility, love and grief intersect and emotions are deeply felt.
The huge Sundance hit also stars three-time Oscar-nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn) and Emmy-winner Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) and is set for the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and, presumably, the Telluride Film Festival.
The big ‘if’ here is Amazon Studios and its theatrical distributor Roadside Attractions. Amazon and Netflix are getting deep into the film business but we saw Netflix flail last year with Beasts of No Nation and its day-and-date release strategy that resulted in zero Oscar nominations despite being a huge critical hit and winning a Screen Actors Guild award for star Idris Elba. While Roadside Attractions hasn’t been much of a player in the Oscar race and its distribution history is a bit weak, it’s gotten better of late with Love & Friendship and My Name is Doris turning into minor indie hits, the former a possible Oscar contender in the tech categories and both with good chances at The Golden Globes.
Check out where the Gold Rush Gang thinks the film is in this year’s Oscar race.
Manchester by the Sea is set for US release on November 18th.
Here is the trailer: