By Agambir Bajwa
Over the past few months, it’s been tricky to predict how the 2020-2021 awards season will move forward, given our current coronavirus situation. I mean movie theatre openings keep getting pushed back, cases in the United States continue to rise, and it seems like films are getting delayed every week. Tenet has had 4 release dates by now, and it’s only July. Through this insanity, it can seem like Netflix, with the amount of awards contenders it has, can be the only company keeping the awards conversation alive this year.
It’s no doubt that this year’s awards season will be different from the rest. Certain movies that look good on paper might not be released this year. Some movies may go to PVOD or streaming, but some cannot afford too. In this moment of uncertainty, I’ve made a list of films coming out in the latter half of this year and early 2021 that could be possible awards contenders that aren’t from Netflix. That way, at least we can have something positive to look forward to.
However, each film has a release date listed beside it (if given by the studio) and my opinion on whether it should be released in theaters or go straight to PVOD/ Streaming. Again, each film is different, and I’ve put on my “business hat” while giving my opinion because we have to remember, that Hollywood at the end of the day is like any other business, and their movies need to make money, especially nowadays.
Please Note: The films mentioned below have completed filming and are either in post-production or completely finished. Some films have specific release dates given by the studio, which are subjected to change as we head into award season. This isn’t a list of every single possible contender coming out, just one’s that I am aware of.
“Tenet” (Warner Bros. - Global Launch starting August 26, 2020)
Oscar Trajectory: Coming off of “Dunkirk,” the expectations for “Tenet” are high. If this is the first major film welcoming audiences back to theaters and helps the theatre chains financially, it will be a massive bonus in “Tenet’s” cap.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Production Design, Best Sound & Best Original Score
Theatrical/PVOD?: This needs to be a theatrical release because there is no way “Tenet” will be profitable on PVOD. It will be interesting to see how Warner Bros tackles the staggered release for “Tenet,” especially because Nolan’s films do tend to be very secretive.
“Those Who Wish Me Dead” (Warner Bros. - October 23, 2020)
Oscar Trajectory: This film is directed by Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”) and has an all-star cast and a very compelling story. If it’s as good as Sheridan’s previous work, I would expect it to get nominated across the board.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Angelina Jolie), Best Supporting Actor (Nicholas Hoult, Jon Bernthal & Tyler Perry) & Best Adapted Screenplay
Theatrical/PVOD?: Again, this film doesn’t seem that expensive to make, so I could see it doing very well on PVOD with a cast like this. I think we’ll need to see some footage from the movie to decide.
“News of the World” (Universal - December 25, 2020)
Oscar Trajectory: Paul Greengrass reuniting with Tom Hanks could be excellent. Their last collaboration was with “Captain Phillips,” which was nominated for six Oscars. Also, Tom Hanks is a bit of a hero right now, so I could see this going far.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Tom Hanks) & Best Adapted Screenplay
Theatrical/PVOD?: Again, we’ll have to see some footage from the film, but I think it could be another PVOD release. I don’t know if people will go out of their way to see this type of film in theaters during a pandemic.
“Respect” (United Artists - January 15, 2021)
Oscar Trajectory: I know many people think this could be the next “Judy” or “Harriet,” but I think the film looks very promising from its trailers. If there is a lot of audience support for this film, I think it could do really well.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jennifer Hudson), Best Supporting Actor (Forest Whitaker), Best Supporting Actress (Audra McDonald), Best Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design & Make-Up and Hair
Theatrical/PVOD?: This seems like the perfect holiday film for everyone. I think it could do really well financially if they make it seem like an event movie.
“Ammonite” (Neon - No Release Date)
Oscar Trajectory: This film is part of the Cannes, and TIFF line-up this year, which seems very promising on top of this being a romance between Oscar favorites Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Kate Winslet), Best Supporting Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography & Best Original Score
Theatrical/PVOD?: I’m mixed on this decision. For a smaller film like this, the box office isn’t the only measure of success, “Ammonite” could do very well down the line on VOD and streaming. I would say that they should do a theatrical release. If it doesn’t work out, there isn’t too much harm done.
“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” (20th Century Pictures - January 22, 2021)
Oscar Trajectory: This film adapts a very popular musical, and I think the story just seems fantastic. You also have the team who worked on the stage production working on the film, so I think it could do very well if it's really good.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design & Best Costume Design
Theatrical/PVOD?: This film could do really well in theaters if they make it seem like an “event” movie.
“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures - Fall 2020)
Oscar Trajectory: With “Nomadland” and “The Eternals,” I think Chloé Zhao might step up within the industry. It’s a TIFF, Venice, and New York Film Festival premiere which seems promising. Also, the story here seems very powerful.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Frances McDormand) & Best Adapted Screenplay
Theatrical/PVOD?: Again, I’m not sure how big of a theatrical audience there is for this movie. I think it’s a better fit for PVOD, but if we see some footage, and there’s tons of audience interest, it should be a theatrical release.
Soul (Disney - November 20, 2020)
Oscar Trajectory: This seems like Pixar’s best film - it’s a Cannes selection, and was rumored to go to Telluride. Pixar has never done this before, so I would imagine “Soul” is a very special film.
Possible Nominations: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay & Best Animated Feature
Theatrical/PVOD?: Again, this is clearly a theatrical film, and I think it could do very well in theaters. There is no way it can do as well on PVOD. The only way I see this film being pulled from theaters is if Disney gets desperate for content on Disney+. Other than “The Mandalorian” season two, there isn’t much high profile content coming to Disney+.
Nomadland (15) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NDFS, NSFC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA, TIFF, VENICE
Promising Young Woman (4) - COFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS
First Cow (2) - FFCC, NYFCC
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Minari (2) - NCFCA, OFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2) - DFCS, HFCS
Another Round - EFA
Da 5 Bloods - CIC
Small Axe - LAFCA
Chloé Zhao (22) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BFCC, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, LAFCA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC, OFCC, PFCC, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Spike Lee (2) - CIC, HFCS
Regina King - BFCC
Darius Marder - SCA
Andrew Patterson - GOTHAM
Thomas Vinterberg - EFA
Frances McDormand (12) - AWFJ, BOFCA, CFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, OFCC, SFBAFCC
Carey Mulligan (7) - COFCA, DFCS, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, SCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
Viola Davis (3) - BFCC, CIC, PFCC
Sidney Flanigan (2) - BSFC, NYFCC
Paula Beer - EFA
Nicole Beharie - GOTHAM
Chadwick Boseman (9) - AWFJ, BFCC, CFCA, CIC, DFCS, LAFCA, MSFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Riz Ahmed (8) - COFCA, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NDFS, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS
Delroy Lindo (7) - BOFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, NSFC, NYFCC, PFCC
Anthony Hopkins (2) - BSFC, FFCC
Mads Mikkelsen - EFA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Youn Yuh-jung (13) - AWFJ, BFCC, BSFC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, MCFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Maria Bakalaova (10) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, NYFCC
Ellen Burstyn - DFCS
Olivia Cooke - HFCS
Amanda Seyfried - PFCC
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci (13) - BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, COFCA, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, NSFC, OFCC, SCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Sacha Baron Cohen (4) - DFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS
Leslie Odom Jr. (4) - AWFJ, BFCC, HFCS, IFJA
Chadwick Boseman (3) - CIC, NYFCC, PFCC
Glynn Turman - LAFCA
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nomadland (8) - AWFJ, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, IFJA, NCFCA, OFCC
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (4) - BOFCA, BSFC, FFCC, StLFCA
First Cow (3) - DFCS, PFCC, SFBAFCC
The Father (2) - SCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - BFCC, CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Promising Young Woman (8) - AWFJ, CIC, COFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NDFS, OFCC, StLFCA
Minari (5) - BFCC, FFCC, NCFCA, SDFCS, SFBAFCC
Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always (5) - CFCA, GWNYFCA, IFJA, NSFC, NYFCC
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Another Round - EFA
The Forty-Year-Old-Version - GOTHAM
Fourteen - GOTHAM
Nomadland (15) - AWFJ, BOFCA, BSFC, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, GWNYFCA, HFCS, MCFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, NSFC, PFCC, SDFCS, StLFCA
Mank (3) - FFCC, OFCC, SCA
Small Axe (2) - LAFCA, NYFCC
Tenet (2) - BFCC, HFCS
First Cow - SFBAFCC
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Emma. (2) - CFCA, SDFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2) - CIC, HFCS
Hidden Away - EFA
BEST FILM EDITING
Nomadland (6) - AWFJ, BOFCA, GWNYFCA, NDFS, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (4) - CIC, COFCA, HFCS, MCFCA
I'm Thinking Of Ending Things (2) - BSFC, CFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - MCFCA, SDFCS
The Father - LAFCA
Once More Unto The Breach - EFA
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Endless Trench - EFA
Mank - HFCS
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - CIC
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Soul (13) - BOFCA, CFCA, CIC, COFCA, DFCS, FFCC, GWNYFCA, HFCS, LAFCA, NCFCA, OFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Tenet (3) - IFJA, MCFCA, SCA
Mank (2) - HFCS, NDFS
Berlin Alexanderplatz - EFA
Minari - BSFC
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
One Night In Miami (5) - CIC, DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, MCFCA
Over The Moon - NDFS
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Mank (9) - CFCA, CIC, FFCC, HFCS, LAFCA, MCFCA, NDFS, SDFCS, StLFCA
First Cow - SFBAFCC
The Personal History Of David Copperfield - EFA
Little Girl - EFA
Sound Of Metal - HFCS
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet (6) - DFCS, HFCS, HFCS, NCFCA, SDFCS, StLFCA
The Invisible Man (2) - CFCA, CIC
The Platform - EFA
Possessor - FFCC
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Soul (15) - AWFJ, BFCC, CCA, CIC, DFCS, FFCC, HFCS, IFJA, MSFCA, NCFCA, NDFS, OFCC, PFCC, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Wolfwalkers (7) - BOFCA, CFCA, COFCA, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, SDFCS
Josep - EFA
The Wolf House - BSFC
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM
Another Round (8) - AWFJ, CFCA, EFA, IFJA, MCFCA, NCFCA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Minari (3) - COFCA, DFCS, GWNYFCA
Bacurau (2) - BOFCA, NYFCC
The Life Ahead (2) - HFCS, SDFCS
And Then We Danced - NDFS
A Sun - HFCS
Beanpole - LAFCA
Collective - NSFC
His House - CIC
Identifying Features - GOTHAM
Jumbo - PFCC
La Llorona - BSFC
Los Fuertes - FFCC
Martin Eden - OFCC
Night Of The Kings - BFCC
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Time (7) - BFCC, GOTHAM, GWNYFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, PFCC, SDFCS
Dick Johnson Is Dead (5) - CCA, CFCA, COFCA, IFJA, NCFCA
Collective (4) - BSFC, EFA, SFBAFCC, StLFCA
Boys State (3) - CIC, DFCS, OFCC
All In: The Fight For Democracy (2) - AWFJ, NDFS
The Painter And The Thief (2) - AWFJ, BOFCA
Beastie Boys Story - HFCS
Crip Camp - IDA
My Octopus Teacher - HFCS
The Social Dilemma - MCFCA
A Thousand Cuts - GOTHAM
You Don't Nomi - FFCC