Alien: Covenant ★★★★

***Michael Fassbender for Best Actor AND Best Supporting Actor Plz***

It’s easy to understand why Michael Fassbender hasn’t been floated as a potential Best Actor nominee for his work in “Alien: Covenant.” For one thing, the Oscars seldom acknowledge the fact that great acting can sometimes be found in massive summer tentpoles, even ones that underwhelm at the box office. For another, it would prove difficult to honor Fassbender’s work without splitting the vote or committing some kind of category fraud, as the guy plays two different roles in the film, improbably delivering both of the most brilliant performances in any blockbuster since “The Dark Knight.”

Also, it’s worth remembering that — in the long and illustrious history of the Academy Awards — no one has ever won for playing two androids who make out with each other on a remote alien planet during the middle of a slow-motion genocide. You can google that to confirm.

But while Fassbender’s remarkable double turn might be a bit too strange for the accolades it deserves, the impact of these twin portrayals will reverberate in all directions for years to come. In fact, it wouldn’t be overstating the case to say that the nuance and conviction of his performances in this film refocus Ridley Scott’s ongoing prequel series, justify its existence, and fascinatingly complicate the sci-fi masterpiece that first launched this franchise into orbit. A Best Actor trophy wouldn’t be sufficient for what Fassbender accomplishes here.