As an entertainment editor, I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I haven’t seen any of the movies that are nominated for Best Picture at the 2021 Oscars, including The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7. I know, I know—it should practically be mandatory for the job description, but it’s been quite an abundant year for the entertainment industry.
Although this is the first time that I’ve let this happen, I don’t think I’m entirely at fault. I’m not bragging about this and to be honest, I’ve watched more content this year than in any other year of my life. However, there are three key reasons as to why I haven’t watched any of the Oscar-nominated movies.
1. Most of the movies aren't easily accessible…
There’s no denying that the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in the movie theater business. However, it also affected my access to the majority of these critically acclaimed films. Yes, several 2020 films became available to purchase/rent online shortly after theaters closed their doors. But why would I spend $20 dollars when I can just as easily turn to a streaming service and find an equally entertaining movie for free?
If you’re thinking, but Pieces of a Woman *is* on Netflix, you’re not alone. However, I didn’t know it would be nominated until last month. And after hearing about the plot, I wasn’t in a huge rush to dive into the heartbreaking subject matter, no matter how good it reportedly is. After the year that was 2020, you can’t blame me for not wanting to watch something super heavy after a long day of working from home.
2. …or heavily promoted
Prior to the Golden Globes, I had barely even heard of half of the films that were being honored. So it isn’t that I purposely avoided these particular flicks—instead, the issue is that I can access so much content on streaming platforms, that I struggle to prioritize which films I’m “supposed” to watch. And it didn’t help that I hadn’t seen any sort of promotional material that would make me go out of my way to stream them.
As someone who lives in the heart of Los Angeles, I can confirm that streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are doing their part in plastering Sunset Blvd. with billboards about upcoming premieres. However, most of the Oscar-nominated flicks are produced by major studios, who’ve drastically scaled back on PR ahead of motion picture releases. Whether it’s to present an element of mystery or to save money, the lack of exposure contributed to my streaming decisions.
3. They don't always live up to expectations
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been bored to a crisp by a Best Picture nominee. I’m not saying that every Oscar-nominated movie is overrated—my colleague couldn’t say enough great things about one of the films in particular—but they’re sometimes hyped up so much that they’re unable to live up to the expectations we create. This idea is only heightened when we’re forced to watch the movies from our own couch. If I can’t experience the films in a pitch-black theater while munching on a bowl of overly buttered popcorn, then I’d much rather wait to see which films actually win an Oscar before investing too much of my time.
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