Amazon came to the Sundance Film Festival with its wallet open back in January, snapping up the rights to six films. The streaming service and fledgling studio’s biggest acquisition was Manchester by the Sea, the third film from playwright and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me, Margaret), in a $10 million deal. Since the rapturous reaction following the premiere, not much about the film has been revealed to a wide audience, but now that awards season is beginning to spin up, there’s finally a trailer. The film stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, who returns to his seaside hometown after his brother’s death–and discovers that he has been made legal guardian of his teenage nephew.
It’s the kind of family drama that Lonergan excels at, with plenty of big moments for actors to gain notice. Amazon has slated the film for a limited release on November 18 (Roadside Attractions is assisting with the theatrical distribution), with a wider rollout planned through December–a clear aim at awards season. Casey Affleck already has one Oscar nod (for 2007’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), and the trailer highlights work that will likely receive a campaign for Best Actor, along with pushes for Michelle Williams and Lucas Hedges in the supporting categories. Amazon clearly wanted to get into the non-documentary Oscar race; that they’re doing so with a filmmaker like Lonergan, and an intimate picture like this, shows that they’re going about it the right way.