Where to see 13 of this year's awards season movies

(from left) Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) and Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) in News o

Tom Hanks plays a civil war veteran travelling from town to town in the Old West reading the news. (from left) Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) and Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass. - Credit: Bruce W. Talamon/Universal Pictures/Netflix

With the announcement of the Golden Globes this week, you would traditionally expect the Hollywood publicity machine to shift into high gear celebrating the start of ‘Oscar Season’ - the time of year where Hollywood shines the spotlight on the finest current movies in their catalogue.

Usually there is months of ‘Oscar buzz’ leading up to the nominations and then the ceremony, with fans speculating on which of their favourite movies will win the coveted ‘Best Picture’ trophy or even do a ‘clean sweep’ and walk away with all the major awards.

This year, the pandemic has played havoc with this time-honoured tradition. Not only has the award-season been put back by three months but cinemas have been closed for the best part of a year, meaning that it is very difficult to get an idea of what the front runners are.

Many high-profile films have been put on ice until cinemas re-open while others have been dispersed by the winds of the internet, seeding any number of different streaming sites – all of which makes it hard to keep tabs on the latest releases.

It’s all too easy for new ‘cinema’ films, without the oxygen of publicity, to get lost in the vast content warehouses represented by the menu boards of streaming sites. Sometimes it feels like you are stuck in the middle of a dense forest trying to identify a particular species of tree.


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Without the accompanying Oscar buzz, it can be hard to know what's out there if the awards movies are not on at your local cinema.

So, just how can you track down the films that are in the running for both BAFTA or Oscar glory this year? Where can you see them? Using the Golden Globe results and the BAFTA long-list we have put together an Oscar Season guide to this year's likely nominees.

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Nomadland; dir: Chloe Zhao; starring: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Bob Wells, Melissa Smith
After winning the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director for relatively unknown Chloe Zhao, along with wins at Venice and Toronto Film Festivals this has to be leading contender for this year’s Oscar race. The fact it stars Oscar favourite Frances McDormand (mainstay of the Coen Brothers movies and Best Actress winner for Fargo and Three Billboards) will also not hurt its chances. Another plus point in its favour is that it is based on a true story – a tale of women forced into a life on the road after the great financial crash of 2008. 
Where can you see it? The film is currently being held until the cinemas re-open

The Trial of the Chicago 7. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale in The Trial of the Chicago 7. Cr.

The Trial of the Chicago 7. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby Seale in The Trial of the Chicago 7. - Credit: Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX

The Trial of the Chicago 7, dir: Aaron Sorkin; starring: Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella
Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing, picked up the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, for this sharply scripted look at how America badly dealt with anti-Vietnam War protests and Sorkin makes it clear that not much has changed in the world when governments feel threatened by the people they are supposed to be representing.
Where can you see it? Netflix

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM(2020)Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Colman Domingo as Cutler, Viola Davis as M

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Colman Domingo as Cutler, Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Michael Potts as Slow Drag and Glynn Turman as Toledo. - Credit: David Lee/NETFLIX

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; dir: George C. Wolfe; starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Jonny Coyne
Based on the celebrated stage play performed at the National Theatre, this gloriously named movie tells the story of one of the pioneering blues performers, the eponymous Ma Rainey who was shaping the blues while later-to-be great Louis Armstrong was just a fledgling trumpet player in her band.  The film features stand-out performances from stars Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. While Armstrong does not feature in the film ambitious trumpet players do!
Where can you see it? Netflix

I Care A Lot; dir: J Blakeson; starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza Gonzalez, Dianne Wiest, Chris Messina
A dark comedy with a savage sense of black humour which explores the sometimes-shady industry of care homes that thrive on the long-term illness of the elderly. Rosamund Pike plays Marla, a care homeowner used to fleecing as much money as she can from her residents but she meets her match in unmarried Jennifer (Wiest) who may have a shady past herself but when a diminutive gangster played by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage turns up things take a dangerous turn.
Where can you see it? Amazon Prime

Promising Young Woman; dir: Emerald Fennell; starring: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Chris Lowell, Alfred Molina
A bright, comical rape/revenge drama which laces a chilling, darkly pointed thriller with plenty of savage humour. British writer-director Emerald Fennell is knowingly exploring the male-female power play and delights in turning the tables on so-called "nice guys" who take advantage of vulnerable women. The script is brilliantly fiendishly clever, always making sure the audience is hugely entertained while subverting its expectations. It also features a blistering performance from Carey Mulligan who is a million miles away from the quiet, reserved Mrs Pretty in The Dig.
Where can you see it? The film is currently being held until the cinemas re-open

MANK (2020)Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz and Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies. Cr: NETFLIX

Mank (2020). Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz and Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies.

Mank; dir: David Fincher; starring: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tom Pelphrey, Arliss Howard, Charles Dance, Tuppence Middleton
David Fincher, the director who normally specialises in taut, complex thrillers, returns with a classic tale of old time Hollywood. Written by Fincher’s father it tells the story of the making of the Orson Welles classic Citizen Kane and his relationship with writer Herman Mankiewicz along with Mank’s early friendship with publisher William Hearst and his movie-star mistress Marion Davies. Hearst would end up as the template for Welles’ all-powerful media baron in the iconic film. The film is told with humour as well as capturing the glamour and atmosphere of Hollywood in the ‘30s.
Where can you see it? Netflix

Soul; dir: Pete Doctor; starring voices of: Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Angela Bassett
Another piece of classic animation from Pixar, home of Toy Story and Monsters Inc, as they summon up a movie all about Soul – all sorts of soul whether it’s your spiritual being or just the ability to feel the music, this is a movie which digs deep into who we are as people as well as providing lots of laughs and a real feelgood atmosphere. As you would expect the creativity and animation is spectacular, there is plenty to keep audiences of all ages entertained but also plenty to think about.
Where can you see it? Disney +

Soul 2020

Soul (2020). the latest film from Pixar may even get a rare Best Picture nomination in this year's Oscars - Credit: Disney/Pixar

News of the World; dir: Paul Greengrass; starring: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Michael Angelo Covino, Ray McKinnon, Mare Winningham
Every now and then some cultural commentator will solemnly declare that the western is dead but our love for the American West and that pioneer spirit is a resilient beast and fantastically evocative films like News of the World will keep the genre alive for another few years until another inspired tale of the Old West comes along. News of the World is a spare film. It has its share of gun-fights and bad guys but ultimately it is a film about journeys – a physical journey across the plains after the Civil War and an emotional journey for itinerant newspaper reader Tom Hanks and a child rescued from a displaced band of Kiowa. It’s a heartwarming story of how the pair heal one another.
Where can you see it? Netflix

Judas and the Black Messiah; dir: Shaka King; starring: Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Martin Sheen
British ‘Get Out’ star Daniel Kaluuya turns in another dazzling performance in this tale set at the height of the Black Panther movement in the late 1960s. The complex slice of recent history deals with the Panther’s charismatic leader Fred Hampton and the FBI's attempts to infiltrate the organisation. Director Shaka King captures the heightened tensions of the era very well and FBI boss J Edgar Hoover’s pathological fear of societal change.
Where can you see it? The film is currently being held until the cinemas re-open

One Night in Miami; dir: Regina King; starring: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr, Lance Reddick
Another critically acclaimed civil rights drama set in the 1960s and another Hollywood movie to feature a British star, this time it’s Kingsley Ben-Adir who plays Malcolm X in this fictionalised meeting between the Civil Rights leader and  Cassius Clay, American football star Jim Brown and music legend Sam Cooke. This meeting is shown to have taken place in February 1964 just as each of them was about to burst onto the national scene and having to decide how to deal with America’s on-going racial tensions. Based on a stage play, this is a terrific relationship drama.
Where can you see it? Amazon Prime

The Father; dir: Florian Zeller; starring: Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Mark Gatiss, Imogen Poots, Rufus Sewell, Olivia Williams
Based on an award-winning stage play which took London’s West End by storm, this touching drama lets the audience know exactly what is like to suffer from dementia – how the world seems to change around you and how even your family seems to change its face between visits. If Anthony Hopkins wins the Best Actor Oscar he will be the oldest recipient at the age of 83. The previous record-holder was Richard Farnsworth who was a mere 79. The film is always engaging, never mawkish, and the actors rise to the challenge of an all-star cast.
Where can you see it? The film is currently being held until the cinemas re-open

The United States vs Billie Holiday; dir: Lee Daniels; starring: Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Another showbiz legend falls beneath the paranoid gaze of FBI chief J Edgar Hoover. This story is set in 1947, when Billie Holiday is a rising star on the New York and Los Angeles jazz scene and yet she is forced to use the back service entrances to the very venues that have her name in lights over the front entrance. The FBI don’t like her because of her anti-lynching song Strange Fruit. She is arrested on drugs charges but when she emerges from prison the authorities seek to disrupt her sell-out comeback gig at New York’s Carnegie Hall. A film filled with dazzling performances and great photography.
Where can you see it? Sky Cinema

The Mauritanian; dir: Kevin Macdonald; starring: Jodie Foster, Tahar Rahim, Benedict Cumberbatch, Shailene Woodley
Jodie Foster lends her formidable weight behind this tough political drama about a lawyer who agrees to defend a 9/11 suspect being held at Guantanamo. Based on a true story, it looks at the case of a man taken from his home and spirited to the US Army facility in Cuba because the US government are convinced he was responsible for planning the 9/11 attacks – but was he? Needless to say the US authorities don’t emerge well from the story basing their actions on preconceived ideas.
Where can you see it? Amazon Prime

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