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Happy Thanksgiving! Today Is A Huge Day In The Awards Season

It’s Thanksgiving! Yes, as many of you are watching Detroit Lions and/or Dallas Cowboys football, spending time with family/friends, eating, and maybe even going to the movies on what some of us like to call Turkey Day, the holiday is also an essential moment in the Oscar race. Members of the Academy have almost all of the awards screeners in their hands, so as voters gather with loved ones, they could be tackling those piles of films. What they watch, and perhaps as importantly, what they don’t watch, could easily impact the Academy Awards. Today, as we celebrate the holiday (and Happy Thanksgiving to you all), just ponder the following factors for a little bit…

Voters have access to basically all of the contending titles – Only Cats and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker remains to unseen, and screeners have arrived for nearly every film hoping to be nominated for Oscars. That means favorites are being established by decision makers, as well as previously loved titles are getting a second look. There’s legitimately a pile of screeners that most are pulling from.

Films that families and friends are interested in have an advantage – Today, most decision makers are with loved ones, so what gets put on before or after the meal could be what gets the best chance to leave an impact. It may just be what’s popular and on everyone’s mind (like 1917 or The Irishman, for example), but don’t sleep on something like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood appeal to the heartwarming aspect of the holiday.

This is a chance for early season releases to get a second bite at the apple – As much as recency bias (more on that next) comes into play here, early releases like The Peanut Butter Falcon, who had buzz before most Oscar voters were paying attention, now gets a chance to appeal to them. It doesn’t always work, considering how much fall/winter releases tend to get nominated ahead of spring and summer ones, but it’s worth taking note of…

Late breaking movies have the most buzz attached – As just mentioned, recency bias is a real thing. If you don’t think Universal knew what they were doing, getting screeners of 1917 out to everyone just days after its world premiere last weekend, in advance of Thanksgiving, you’re not paying attention. Richard Jewell could be another one that benefits from industry raves being fresh on voters’ minds.

Some things play better at home on screeners, while others suffer – The more visually splendid the flick, the more it benefits from a big screen, obviously. Now, a good movie is a good movie, but something like 1917, Ford v Ferrari, or Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood, just for example, has to play better in a theater with the sound turned up. At the same time, intimate acting pieces like Marriage Story lose almost nothing when viewed at home (though they should ideally still be seen in cinemas). It doesn’t always matter, but it’s one more factor to think about, no?

All in all, this day is obviously much more about family, friends, and food, but it pays to keep film in mind as well. The four F’s, if you will. Just keep this all in mind as you enjoy your turkey today. Now, go have some fun, see those who mean the most to you, and check back tomorrow for updated Academy Award predictions. The Oscars can wait a day, especially when there’s an impending feast involved. Enjoy, from me to you…

Stay tuned to see how the race shapes up over the next month or so, and once again, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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