Alexander Payne’s ‘Downsizing’ to Open Venice Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

Alexander Payne
Willi Schneider/REX/Shutterstock

Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing” will open this year’s Venice International Film Festival, Variety has learned. That coveted berth, on Aug. 30 against the unmistakable backdrop of Italy’s historic canals, puts the Paramount release at the top of this year’s buzziest offerings in the 2017 Oscars race.

The dark comedy centers on a man (played by Matt Damon) who wonders what his life would be like if he shrank himself. Laura Dern, Kirsten Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Jason Sudeikis round out the cast.

Venice has become a strong launching pad for awards season contenders. Last year, Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” premiered there on its way to Telluride, Toronto and 14 Oscar nominations. And in the last five years, two other Academy Awards Best Picture favorites –“Birdman,” in 2014, and “Gravity,” in 2013 — bowed in Venice.

Payne is no stranger to the awards season circuit, as he’s made comedy-dramas “Nebraska,” “About Schmidt” and “Sideways,” all of which received several Oscars nominations.

“Downsizing” arrives in U.S. theaters in limited release on Dec. 22.

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  1. That Missy person says:

    The 20 minutes of sneak footage was wonderful. Highly original, funny, & intelligently constructed.

  2. Jim says:

    Someone I know went to the Downsizing screening test and said that this could be the best picture at the Oscars 2018!

  3. Andrew says:

    Already saw it at the test screenings. A jumbled mess.

  4. Mark says:

    This movie is brilliant, heard good things about it. I’m definitely gonna watch it in theaters!

  5. Mark says:

    It won’t have the same success of the previous films who opened in Venice (Gravity, Spotlight, La La Land, etc.). Variety, STOP HYPING THIS MOVIE!!

  6. Hig Cast says:

    Can’t wait to see this.. one of the most anticipated movies this year!

  7. Oreos says:

    Wow, this is a massive endorsement. I’d love to see something this original crush it both artistically and financially. Fingers crossed!

  8. David says:

    Good Lord. Another mediocre Alexander Payne movie. The most tragic thing is that the Academy apparently loves his movies. This one seems to be a dud.

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