As most of you may have heard by now, my heart has been broken.
Monday brought very tough news for me to process: The 93rd Oscars, originally scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021, have been postponed until April 25, 2021. That means I have a long 10 months of waiting until the greatest night of the year. I really can't take any more bad 2020 news at this point.
However, one positive of the postponement is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended awards eligibility dates. Films released between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, will be in contention for the 93rd ceremony.
Because COVID-19 shut down theaters across the country since mid-March, many movies had to push their release dates. So the extra two months added to the eligibility criteria gives more films a shot at one of several awards.
As I wrote in a previous column, it's my goal to see at least 100 new release movies every year. This year I'm not doing so great — I've only seen 37. For context, this time last year I was already more than halfway through my goal.
Because of the theater shutdown, movie lovers haven't had the chance to really enjoy all that 2020 has to offer, such as "Mulan," "A Quiet Place Part II," "Antebellum," "No Time to Die" and more. Many of these are premiering later this year, while others have been postponed indefinitely at this time.
For the movies that have premiered, whether in theaters or on demand, I'm looking forward to their chances at this year's awards ceremony, and hopefully this extended criteria will give some of the smaller-scale films a bit of a boost.
Just this past weekend, I checked out the film "Shirley," directed by Josephine Decker. If you're a big Oscar fan, you know that for whatever reason the academy very rarely nominates female directors — it's only happened five times — and only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever won the coveted award. Perhaps this year will lead to more female director nominees.
"Shirley," starring Elisabeth Moss, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman and Michael Stuhlbarg, follows a young couple taken in by Stuhlbarg and Moss. Moss plays renowned author Shirley Jackson, who is known for her scary stories, and she emanates that fear in her own life, too. She's not happy with the young couple, Fred and Rose, living with them, and is quite cruel to Rose at any given moment.
Jackson begins working on her latest book, based on the disappearance of a young girl, and soon both women become obsessed with finding out what happened. Was she kidnapped? Did she kill herself? Or did she simply vanish? At the same time, Rose's perception of reality also changes.
The movie is a good commentary on what the world expects from women versus what they dream for themselves, suggesting that the imagined might be better. Jackson's protagonist has parallels with Rose, who begins to question her life, and soon even viewers can't tell what's real and what's fiction.
Moss is a force to be reckoned with in every film that she appears in, like "The Invisible Man" earlier this year, and Young does a great job playing off her. The film is available for streaming on Hulu.
Another film I've enjoyed so far this year that I hope gets some awards love is "Never Rarely Sometimes Always." Starring a few newcomers, the film follows two teenage girls who travel from Pennsylvania to New York City to seek medical help after an unintended pregnancy. We don't know who got Autumn pregnant or anything about their relationship, but it's revealed that her partner is physically and sexually abusive.
What I enjoyed about this movie is that it felt real. It simply follows these two young girls, who go on this journey without telling anyone, barely have any money and aren't prepared for all the hurdles they have to jump. The decision Autumn is making is complicated, and I felt like the film stayed true to it.
The way she felt throughout the movie struck such a chord with me as well. Her emotions were so real and raw, and it hurt to watch certain scenes. Very few movies have made me feel the way I felt after watching this. The film is available for purchase on Amazon and YouTube.
Of course, when theaters open back up, I'm definitely looking forward to watching those big-name movies again. I'm excited to see what adventure Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" puts us through, and what Wes Anderson has in store with "The French Dispatch." Maybe waiting 10 months to catch up on all these movies won't be so bad after all.