NOT OT: The 2020 Best Picture Oscar Front Runner...is on TV Right Now
I subscribe to various streaming services.
I opened the "Hulu" app the other night on my TV and there it was: "Nomadland" -- "EXCLUSIVE" on Hulu right now. That is to say, on TV right now.
This is the front-runner for the 2020 Best Picture Oscar, which is pretty funny since 2020 is almost two months ago. But the Academy extended the deadline for nominated pictures into late February(as I write this, it IS February)
It looks like a 2021 televised ceremony for 2020 movies is a "go" in April on American broadcast TV. As I've noted before, it seems that the Motion Picture Academy earns $75 million for the broadcast -- a big chunk of its operating budget -- so SOMETHING has to be put on the air.
I'll tell you how disconnected I am. I know that the Golden Globes for 2020 are also being held -- or may HAVE been held on TV already. I literally don't know and don't care if that broadcast has been done already. (The Golden Globes splits between movies and TV ..so TV shows can appropriately be honored there.)
Poor Steven Spielberg. Last year, BEFORE COVID-19 hit the scene, he adamantly came out AGAINST Netflix movies qualifying for Oscars, he didn't care if they got a few short theatrical showings in LA and NYC - "they are on TV; they should be awarded Emmies, not Oscars."
Then came COVID-19, and most theaters were closed and few good movies were released to what theaters remained -- and Spielberg's words no longer mattered. At least for 2020. Pretty much ALL of the 2020 Oscar nominees will have been seen almost EXCLUSIVELY on TV. The Trial of the Chicago 7(produced by Spielberg so -- what's his problem again?) Mank. Some other stuff.
But mainly...Nomadland. Its got that Oscar-credibility star, Frances McDormand, which is good. And personally, I find the subject matter interesting -- always a key thing for a great movie. (Modern day American nomads roaming the highways of the US in vans and mobile homes..."homeless on wheels, off the grid.")
Meanwhile: Martin Scorsese, who already took on Marvel movies as "not movies" a couple of years ago, has recently weighed in against streaming -- "movies have now become content." He's right, but The Irishman was a Netflix flick and his Leo/DeNiro Native American murders movie(yet unfilmed) will debut on Apple. I suppose the movie DIRECTOR in Marty is in the position of "going along to get along"(and to get the big budgets he needs) but the movie FAN in Marty knows this is wrong, that movies for their first hundred years were made to be seen in theater on the BIG screen.
Elsewhere I post about the late film critic Richard Corliss' memories of seeing Psycho "at the Avalon Theater on the South Jersey shore" in 1960 and you can tell that he carried around the memory of the theater where he saw Psycho as much as the memory of Psycho itself. That is a part of the movie-going experience that is just going right down the tubes in the age of "cable and streaming."
One of my greatest memories of seeing Psycho (of the many times I've seen Psycho) was to see it at a restored old Palace Theater in a downtown area. My research revealed that Psycho had played at that very same theater on first release in 1960 -- and I was now seeing Psycho at the same theater 0-- this was around 1994. Whereas most all of the OTHER palace theaters had long been torn down, with multiplexes everywhere -- THIS theater had been restored and conserved and THIS theater conjured up 1960 and a "night at the movies" in a cavernous theater with plush red curtains covering the movie screen, a "loge" and a balcony.
The downside: in 1994, this old theater was musty and dusty and smelled of decades of rancid buttered popcorn. But I could ignore all that and imagine what it would have been like to see Psycho(such a "small" movie) in such a gigantic , Palace-like environment. Hey, it was so plush they piped the movie soundtrack into the Men's Room -- I "took a bathroom break and could hear Sheriff Chambers asking "Who's that woman buried in Greenlawn Cemetary?" echoing among the stalls.
By the way, it looks like DVDs are going away too. And that is scary. The streaming services take movies away as much as they program them. Eventually will they control content to the point that you can't KEEP your favorite movies anymore ("YOu want to see Psycho again? Pony up 4 bucks on HBO Max.) I start to worry as some of my DVDs warp and don't play so good.
Anyway, Spielberg's right and Scorsese's right: first-run movies debuting on Netflix and Hulu and qualifying for Oscar nominations and wins...it just ain't right. Its TV. Its "content." Hell, its software. But for 2020 behind us..its the only way out. This WILL be the "asterisk year" for Oscar winners.
Of course, in recent years, a lot of the Oscar winning films were not being wildly seen , anyway. That prepared us for this.