What: The first trailer for The Current War.
Who: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, and director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon.
Why we care: We are just barely removed from the time of year that brings us films like Baywatch and Transformers: The Last Knight, aka that time robots were Forrest Gumping their way through history. It’s not too early, however, for Oscar season to rear its head by dangling this year’s offerings early. To that end, the first trailer for The Current War dropped today, and it looks as though it may in fact have been scientifically engineered in some sort of Oscars lab.
Here are the ways in which the film appears extra statuette-ready:
- Oscar-y actors. While Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, and Nicholas Hoult haven’t actually won yet, the first two have been nominated and the third has been Oscar-adjacent (his costars were nominated) multiple times.
- Period garb. Bonus points for proto-steampunk imagery.
- Historical context. The film is about the intense race between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to be the official supplier of electricity to the world. This kind of thing is catnip for Academy voters.
- Indie darling director in his most prestigious project yet. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon directed the plucky festival hit Me, Earl and the Dying Girl in 2015.
- Strictly perfunctory roles for women and minorities. Katherine Waterston is listed in the credits but has no lines in the trailer.
The pedigree is there, but is the quality? We’ll find out when the film has its inevitable limited release rollout late this year to beat the Oscar eligibility deadline, before going wide in January.