Damien Chazelle's First Man, which stars Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong, will have its world premiere at this year's Venice Film Festival. Though Chazelle is still an extremely young filmmaker, he has established himself as a perennial Oscar threat whenever he releases a new movie. Whiplash, which won Best Supporting Actor for J.K. Simmons, put Chazelle on the map, while La La Land (which tied an Oscar record for most nominations) took him into the stratosphere.
After the success of those two outings, cinephiles are very interested to see how Chazelle's next film turns out. First Man was already generating positive buzz due to the pedigree of the principal players involved, but footage screened at CinemaCon and the official trailer illustrated it could live up to the hype. As it turns out, viewers won't have much longer to find out if Chazelle has another Academy darling under his belt.
Related: Watch The First Man Trailer
According to Variety, First Man will kick off the Venice Film Festival with a showing on Wednesday, August 29. Obviously, Universal is hoping to repeat the La La Land formula; the acclaimed musical opened Venice back in 2016 and immediately became one of the top films to beat on the awards circuit.
This is a positive development for First Man's Oscar chances, since previous films to lead Venice, such as Birdman, Gravity, and Black Swan were all top contenders in their respective years of release. All of those movies ended up winning in main categories like Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress, so it's definitely a smart play on Universal's part to start the First Man awards campaign in Venice. They'll be able to start generating word-of-mouth well before its theatrical release in October. Admittedly, not every Venice opener has been a major hit (Downsizing last year), but the odds are definitely in Chazelle's favor. Universal must feel confident that First Man is one to watch.
While it might be out of the question to expect First Man to match La La Land's whopping 14 nominations, but it definitely has a strong chance in multiple prestigious categories, including Best Picture and Best Director for Chazelle. Gosling has put together a string of impressive performances over the last handful of years, so he's seen as one possibility for Best Actor. Depending on how the season and narratives shake out, he could even win his first Oscar, after being nominated twice before. He worked magic with Chazelle on La La Land, so First Man will hopefully be more of the same.
- First Man (2018) release date: Oct 12, 2018