Ex Machina (stylized as ex_machina or EX_MACHINA) is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film written and directed by Alex Garland (in his directorial debut) and stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander. The film follows a programmer who is invited by his CEO to administer the Turing test to an intelligent humanoid robot. Made on a budget of $15 million, the film grossed $36 million worldwide and received critical acclaim. The National Board of Review recognized it as one of the ten best independent films of the year and the 88th Academy Awards honored the film with the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, for artists Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington and Sara Bennett. Garland was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, while Vikanders acclaimed performance earned her BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, Empire Award and Saturn Award nominations, plus several film critic award wins, for Best Supporting Actress. The film was further nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best British Film, and the Hugo Award in the category Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form. Programmer Caleb Smith wins a one-week visit to the luxurious, isolated home of Nathan Bateman, the CEO of software company Blue Book. The only other person there is Nathans servant Kyoko, who, according to Nathan, does not speak English. Nathan has built a humanoid robot named Ava with artificial intelligence. Ava has already passed a simple Turing test; Nathan wants Caleb to judge whether Ava is genuinely capable of thought and consciousness, and whether he can relate to Ava despite knowing she is artificial.