Tyler's 5 Films to Watch Before the Awards Season.

by Tyler Wanke

Awards Season is fast approaching and here are the biggest contenders…

Awards season is here and I couldn’t be happier. In a year where we have seen a slow return to the theatrical experience, It’s incredible that so many streaming providers continue to take a large chunk of the pie. Netflix, Amazon, and HBO Max are redefining the prestige film, and films are going from theatres to VOD at a much faster rate. If this is the future of cinema then anyone can become an Awards Season nut with this level of accessibility.

What doesn’t seem to change is the type of films that draw the eye of awards voters. Period pieces, Dramas, and biopics continue to be dominant genres. Let’s take a look at some of the films that could bring home tons of awards come March…

1. Belfast

This film by writer/director Kenneth Branagh is a personal project. A semi-autobiographical take on his youth in Belfast during the Troubles, a tense ethno-nationalist conflict. The film is loaded with incredible performances and impressive camera work. Belfast looks to rack up a number of nominations in the acting categories, directing nods for Branagh, Picture, and possibly some technical awards. This could be this year’s Nomadland.

Belfast is available on VOD now!

2. The Power of the Dog

Checking the drama/period piece boxes mentioned before, director Jane Campion tells an incredibly well-structured and unpredictable period piece that is too good to spoil here. Cumberbatch could be a sneaky contender if Will Smith loses some traction, and Kirsten Dunst and Kodi Smit-McPhee should be in the running in supporting categories. Campion is my choice for Director right now, and don’t be surprised if the film comes away with a cinematography or Production Design award due to the sprawling landscapes of the old west.

The Power of the Dog is streaming on Netflix now!

3. Dune

Denis Villeneuve’s sprawling Science-Fiction epic adapted from Frank Herbert’s influential 1965 novel was arguably the first successful adaptation of the notoriously dense material. Other than Villeneuve getting a director nod, the film is looking to be a Mad Max Fury Road in terms of technical awards. Meaning, Don’t be surprised if Dune sweeps every technical category but misses out on a lot of major acting, directing, or picture awards. What really holds Dune back is its incompleteness. “Part 2” will be Villeneuve’s Return of the King if it succeeds.

Dune is available on VOD now!

4. King Richard

The story of Tennis stars Venus and Serena Willaims through the perspective of their overbearing but well-intentioned father is a refreshing idea for a biopic. Will Smith is the main catch here, as the film is a vessel for his acting talent. He’s incredible in here, which should say everything considering my disdain for Smith as an actor. While Smith is clearly the favorite for Best Actor, don’t be surprised if we see Aunjanue Ellis or Jon Berthnal in the supporting categories as well. King Richard is the perfect example of the star-driven drama relegated just to the acting categories, but with Smith being all but a shoo-in, it’s likely to gain traction in other categories as the season goes on.

King Richard is streaming on HBO Max until December 19th

5. Licorice Pizza

Paul Thomas Anderson might be one of the most highly regarded directors to not have the Oscar gold to back it up. Other than, Daniel Day Lewis’s win for There Will be Blood, PTA films have never gotten more than a couple of technical awards. PTA has 8 Oscar nominations to his name and Licorice Pizza is his next film to take a crack at Oscar glory. Licorice Pizza looks a little more fun and accessible than some of his other films like Phantom Thread or Inherent Vice. But the film is relying on mostly unknown talent to carry its story, can he pull it off without Daniel Day-Lewis? I’ll give you a better idea once I see it. Consider it a Best Picture hopeful at best for the time being.

Licorice Pizza opens wide on Christmas day!

As of now, These 5 seem to be gaining the most awards traction, but don’t count out some other films once bigger awards show nominations are announced. Even though House of Gucci opened to mediocre reviews, don’t count out the film in acting categories or makeup and hairstyling. West Side Story, Being the Ricardos, and Don’t Look Up look to make their own stake in the game, but we won’t know much about these films till Christmas.

Be sure to keep up with Purely Kino during this awards season for your best chance at winning your Oscar pool !

Finally here is the Awards season schedule!!

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