Matt Damon stars in Oscar worthy 'Stillwater'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Star Matt Damon steps out of his comfort zone to play an oil field worker from Oklahoma forced to go to extreme lengths to free his daughter from a French prison in his new movie "Stillwater."

It had its U.S. premiere in Manhattan this past Monday. I was eager to get to this particular red carpet because I so admire the new film.

"Hey, how are you, Sandy, good to see you," Damon greeted me again after the long year and a half we spent without seeing each other during the pandemic.

He has reason to smile after a five minute standing ovation followed the first screening of the picture at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month.

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There's already been talk of an Oscar nomination for Damon, starring as a roughneck who is out of his element in France.

He plays a dad from Stillwater, Oklahoma, who must travel to Marseille to try and get his daughter out of jail for a crime she didn't commit.

"The movie's about a guy who's got a really messed up relationship with his daughter," Damon said. "He's trying to repair it with kind of the limited skills that he has. He's got all this grief and pain, and as a dad, it's not hard to think about what that would be like."

After eight years in Los Angeles, Damon and his family are moving his family back to New York City.

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EXTENDED INTERVIEW: Matt Damon talks with Sandy Kenyon about stepping out of his comfort zone to play an oil field worker from Oklahoma who goes to extreme lengths to free his daughter from a French prison in "Stillwater."



"We're East Coast people," said Damon, originally from Boston. "This is where we're comfortable. I love the city where we can walk around and the kids can have some autonomy, especially at the age where their brains are kind of individuating, and that's what they're supposed to be doing."

His three youngest daughters are 10,12, and 15, and he'd never been apart from them for more than two weeks until he started filming "Stillwater."

"We had a family meeting about it, and they knew how much I wanted to do it," he said. "And I like the fact they know how much I love my job."

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By doing this, Damon is actually following his mother's example.

"My mom, you know, was a professor, and she's retired now," he said. "She didn't get paid much, but I knew how much she loved her job, and that's a great lesson for kids to take."

Damon deserves an Oscar nomination for "Stillwater," and so does Abigail Breslin for playing his daughter.

The film's director, Tom McCarthy, should get a nomination, too. He already has an Oscar for writing "Spotlight," and that film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2016.

"Stillwater" could well go all the way as well. Yes, it really is that great.

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