Alexander Payne is an Oscar regular. He’s one of those filmmakers who gets instant consideration, thanks to films like About Schmidt, The Descendants, and Nebraska. (His best movie is still Election.) And he’s back in contention this year with Downsizing, starring Matt Damon—also Oscar-friendly—Kristen Wiig, and Christoph Waltz, another Academy favorite. Downsizing is loaded for Oscar bear, basically. It’s also opening the Venice Film Festival today, and following a morning press screening, reviews are starting to trickle out and they are GOOD. This year is shaping up to be a lot more competitive than last year, so early buzz and good performance is going matter to start separating the contenders from pretenders.

We have a teaser to look at, set to Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime, which introduces a smiling Matt Damon, a non-murderous Christoph Waltz—who always looks like that one professor you’re half terrified of and half in love with—and Kristen Wiig and Hong Chau being women who appear on film. We have no clue what anyone is doing, but there is an implied SHRINK RAY, so I just got a lot more interested in this movie. I assumed Downsizing was going to be another semi-depressing movie about the state of middle America, like Nebraska, but no, Matt Damon LITERALLY SHRINKS. Count me in. 

As Lainey mentioned yesterday, I’ll be at TIFF next week. My schedule isn’t set yet, and this year there are a few either/or choices to be made. So let me know what movies you want to see reviewed, because we’re making those decisions soon. Based on its shrink ray implications, Downsizing just moved up the list.