The Oscar Project
To say that 2020 was a strange year would be a tremendous understatement. People across the globe saw their lives upended by the arrival of a global pandemic. It changed the way we worked, went to school, saw our families, and of course, watched movies.
We made it through two months of a normal movie year, including the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony being held on February 9th, 2020 as planned. Little did we know that just over a month later, movie theaters across the country would be shuttered for months and we would be binge watching shows like Tiger King and The Last Dance (check out my review).
While it's safe to say the pandemic was a boon for streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, it's interesting to look back on this year in movies and see how it may have affected our approach to film in general going forward.
By the Numbers
The other category that would have had a much bigger place on this list in a normal year is animation, and Disney releases in general. Looking back at the 2019 list, seven of the top ten grossing films were from Disney (including Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars). In fact, none of the top ten movies in the list above would have made the list in the previous four years. You have to go back to 2015 where Cinderella and Spectre were just over $200 million, which would have made room for Bad Boys for Life to sneak into the list.
The Continued Rise of Streaming
I'll admit that I was streaming even more content than I had in the past. I was fortunate enough to keep my job through the pandemic and as such still had daily tasks to handle from my home office. But I also had plenty of time for just chilling with Netflix and watching some shows and movies I'd been putting off for a while. I did indulge in the insanity that was Tiger King, but also found time for the delightful comedy series The Good Place.
What frustrates me most is the sheer amount of new content out there. I have a watchlist a mile long on Netflix, and just finding time for a full movie is hard. A quick tally of a list I found online had nearly 60 new movies released on Netflix this year with another 16 released to Disney+, 14 from Amazon Studios, 7 from Hulu, and 4 from newcomer Apple TV+. If you add those up at an average run time of 120 minutes (2 hours), you have nearly 8 and a half days of movies to watch, and that's JUST the ones that released straight to streaming this year.
Now, it remains to be seen if this trend continues as we move past 2020, but I have a feeling it's here to stay. Netflix has found a way to get its hands on a wide array of titles from films by famous directors like Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) and Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods), to incredible documentaries like Athlete A (my review) and of course plenty of shows like Schitt's Creek. Amazon continues to crank out and promote big new television series and feature films that are exclusive to its platform and even the little brother Hulu seems to be making some inroads.
What about the awards?
If you're hear, chances are you are at least a bit interested in the awards season. Rest assured the awards will still be handed out, even if it might look a little different than in past years. We already had a virtual Emmy Awards ceremony back in September that seemed to be generally well received. All the other major awards have been pushed back to later this winter/spring including the Golden Globes to February 28th, Critics Choice Awards to March 7th, Screen Actors Guild Awards to March 14th, and of course the 93rd Academy Awards slated for April 25th. For the Oscars, the cutoff for eligible films was typically the end of the calendar year, but has been pushed back to February 28th, so we may still get a few Oscar contenders in the next few weeks.
So the awards will still be here this year, they will just look a little different. As we run up to these ceremonies, I will be taking a closer look at what films are even nominated this year and try to provide some insight as to who might win in the end.
On to 2021
I don't know anyone who things 2021 will be any worse than 2020 was. I'm sure there are things that would cause that to be the case (I'm looking at you disaster films), but let's start the year on a positive note and hope for the best. If all goes well, we should be getting films like Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon (which looks beautiful), A Quiet Place: Part II, Black Widow, Cruella, F9: The Fast Saga, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Death on the Nile, Dune, No Time to Die, and one I'll be going to for sure...PAW Patrol: The Movie.
The good news about movies in 2021 is that there is a good chunk of backlogged films that are complete or nearly complete. Some of these may get a little refinement as they have extra time to wait before hitting theaters, but that all depends on how well our society can get a handle on the Covid-19 issue. If you're like me and you want to be able to see movies in theaters packed with people, attend midnight screenings of the newest blockbusters and generally get out into the world more, please do your part to help stem the tide of Covid.
I can't wait to be back in theaters with you soon!
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?