Matt Damon is one of those beloved actors who so far is lacking an Academy Award for his acting talent. Yes, he may have won one way back in the 90's, but that was for Best Original Screenplay, so keep quiet. Well, it has now been announced that his upcoming untitled thriller has been given a release date that falls in the 2020 Awards season, suggesting it may be the film to net him that coveted Best Actor Oscar.

The Untitled Tom McCarthy Project will hit US big screens initially with a limited release on November 6th 2020, before being given a wide release a few days later on November 13th and finally going international on November 20th. This places the film optimistically at the centre of the awards season, no doubt a deliberate move made by Focus Features.

Many expected his next project to be the directorial debut that many are so eager to see, but, alas, that is not the case. Though worry not, as Damon is returning to the thriller genre of which he has had much success in the past, both with critics and audiences. To excite you further, Damon will be teaming up with a prior Oscar-winner, Tom McCarthy, who bagged a golden statue for his intense biographical drama Spotlight. He was also behind the bizarre and largely hated Adam Sandler comedy, The Cobbler, but perhaps it is time to forgive and forget.

Though the film is currently untitled officially, it has been previously known and reported as Stillwater. Title notwithstanding, the film's plot follows Damon as Bill, an American oil-rig roughneck who leaves his Oklahoma home and heads to Marseille to visit his estranged daughter. Played by Zombieland's Abigail Breslin, this estranged daughter resides in prison for a muder she claims she did not commit. Navigating his way through France, the language and cultural barrier, as well as a complicated legal system, Damon makes it his personal mission to prove his daughter's innocence. Along the way, this fish out of water develops a friendship with a local woman and her daughter who teach him a few much-needed life lessons about the world.

Some have noted the similarities in the story and that of the true story of American student Amanda Knox, who spent four years in an Italian prison having been convicted of murder, before the verdict was overturned and she was freed.

This kind of hardline thriller could be just the thing that Damon needs, with his last critical and awards darling being 2015's The Martian. Since then he has continued his reputation as the greatest surprise cameo actor of all time, with scene-stealing moments in both Thor: Ragnarok and Deadpool 2, but his starring roles, including those in The Great Wall and Downsizing, have largely fallen flat.

Here's hoping that with this upcoming thriller, and this year's racing drama Le Mans '66, that Damon will be back where he belongs, with more awards to his name. We got this news direct from Focus Features.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb
Jon Fuge