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What If The Academy Only Considered The Films Out In Release Right Now?

Time for an interesting little thought experiment. We all know that the upcoming Oscar ceremony has been delayed into April, with Academy Award hopefuls getting until the end of February to be released for consideration. However, today I want to think about what the Academy’s choices would be if they had held tight on their original date. As a way of making an extreme example, I’m just going to list the nominees based on films already out in release. Basically, this exercise is meant to show that it wouldn’t exactly be slim pickings if voters weren’t given quite as many movies to choose from, this time around. Sure, the nominees would look a lot different than usual, but at least in terms of winners, the victors would still be hugely deserving, that’s for sure.

Take a look below at what an Oscar lineup would look like, just pulling from movies already in release. Though unreleased Sundance Film Festival titles are not included, just remember that flicks like Palm Springs and Promising Young Woman would certainly be in contention, along with other completed films awaiting potential festival bows like Ammonite and The French Dispatch. Throw in soon to be released offerings like The Outpost and this list gets even deeper…


1. Da 5 Bloods
2. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
3. The Invisible Man
4. The King of Staten Island
5. Onward
6. The Way Back
7. Swallow
8. The Assistant
9. Birds of Prey
10. The Banker


1. Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods
2. Leigh Whannell – The Invisible Man
3. Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
4. Judd Apatow – The King of Staten Island
5. Gavin O’Connor – The Way Back


1. Ben Affleck – The Way Back
2. Pete Davidson – The King of Staten Island
3. Anthony Mackie – The Banker
4. Harrison Ford – The Call of the Wild
5. Tom Hardy – Capone


1. Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Elisabeth Moss – The Invisible Man
3. Julia Garner – The Assistant
4. Haley Bennett – Swallow
5. Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma.


1. Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
2. Bill Burr – The King of Staten Island
3. Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
4. Clarke Peters – Da 5 Bloods
5. Aldis Hodge – The Invisible Man


1. Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Elisabeth Moss – Shirley
3. Marisa Tomei – The King of Staten Island
4. Hilary Swank – The Hunt
5. Nia Long – The Banker


1. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Da 5 Bloods
3. The King of Staten Island
4. Onward
5. The Way Back


1. First Cow
2. Shirley
3. Emma.
4. Birds of Prey
5. The Trip to Greece

Remember, this is just a thought experiment. The race is going to look somewhat closer to normal, given the extra time that Oscar contenders are getting for the 2021 ceremony. Still, it’s fascinating to look at where we are now, since that easily could influence where we go…

Stay tuned to see what else actually gets released during the Academy’s expanded eligibility window!

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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