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Warner Bros.’ “Black Mass” is the real deal. The Scott Cooper-directed film got a big thumbs-up in its North American bow Saturday at Telluride, following its Venice world premiere the night before. Audiences on both continents seem to agree that the film merits awards consideration across the board; it’s likely to get more huzzahs as more people see it. With six months to go before the Oscars, the studio’s biggest challenge will be to manage expectations.

Variety has run a rave review by Scott Foundas, and a positive awards prediction from Guy Lodge. There will be plenty more to discuss about the film before the awards season concludes, but suffice it to say, both Foundas and Lodge were right.

It’s been a good week for Oscar’s best-actor contenders. Variety‘s Lodge also touted the virtues of Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl,” while Kristopher Tapley declared Michael Fassbender the front-runner for “Steve Jobs.” The five slots are filling up fast, with those two plus Depp, as well as Ian McKellen in the current “Mr. Holmes” and a long list of strong actors in as-yet-unseen films.

Depp is pretty spectacular in “Black Mass,” and he will likely be the chief talking point for the next few weeks as the film opens domestically Sept. 18. But he’s hardly the whole show. The film should do very well in awards season. But the bigger takeaway from Telluride and Venice is that it’s shaping up to be a really interesting awards year — and we’re barely into September.