'Moonlight' Is Poised To Be This Year's Breakout Oscar Contender

Watch the first trailer

As the summer winds down, so do the overblown blockbusters that invaded our theaters these past few months. This year was an especially disappointing one for summer tentpoles, which is why the incoming onslaught of prestige pictures already feels like that first gulp of Gatorade after a day at the beach.

And while some truly great auteurs are set to release their Oscar contenders this fall, the real fun of awards season is discovering those under-the-radar gems that morph into must-see juggernauts. Last year we got Room, and the year before that it was Whiplash. This year, the film poised to breakout is Moonlight, a sprawling story, told in three chapters, at the height of Ronald Reagan's War on Drugs.

Directed by Barry Jenkins, whose 2008 debut feature Medicine for Melancholy is a poignant exploration of race relations in America, Moonlight follows the life of a man from boyhood to adulthood, as he comes to terms with his own sexuality and the past that haunts him.

The film's first trailer introduces us to Trevante Rhodes as Chiron, and Naomie Harris, André Holland, Mahershala Ali, and Janelle Monáe as the family and friends who impact his life. Look for the buzz train to officially take off when Moonlight premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month, and then steamroll all the way to Oscar night. 

Moonlight hits theaters on October 21.