The Trial of the Chicago 7 / Netflix

Say goodbye to the Emmys and say hello to the Oscars! Even though the Oscars won’t air until April 2021, the last quarter of 2020 signals the start of the Oscar season. Even in a year full of delays, postponements, and a pandemic, studios are still looking to acquire films at major festivals to bolster their awards’ chances. There’s one major studio that has stood above the rest and we all know who it is. Is This The Year Netflix Wins Best Picture?

Is This The Year Netflix Wins Best Picture?

2020 has been the year from hell for most major studios. Giant tentople franchises like Wonder Woman and James Bond have moved their release dates to the end of the year. Marvel and The Fast and Furious punted in 2020 and moved their major releases to 2021. If there’s one major studio that could survive a pandemic, it’s Netflix. Not only has Netflix survived, but it’s thrived beyond belief.

This past week, two major dominoes fell in the Best Picture race. First, West Side Story, one of the most anticipated films of 2020, was pushed back an entire year from Dec. 2020 to Dec. 2021. The iconic musical from Steven Spielberg, which was set to be a frontrunner for Best Picture, now moves to the 2022 Oscars.

When one door closes, another door opens, and in comes Aaron Sorkin. The second major domino revolves around Sorkin’s new film, The Trial of the Chicago 7, which released its first trailer this past week. Originally scheduled for a theatrical release from Paramount, the Chicago 7 was sold to Netflix for over $50 million and now, will be released in select theaters on September 25 before debuting on the streaming service on October 16. The film centers around the famous Chicago Seven, who led protests during the 1968 Democratic Convention. The cast is stacked and includes Oscar-winners Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance as well as recent Emmy-winners Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Strong.

All you have to say is “Aaron Sorkin wrote a courtroom drama” and this film would be up for awards. From A Few Good Men to The West Wing, the film and television academies love Sorkin in the courtroom. Critics agree as the first wave of reviews has been overwhelmingly positive with Richard Roeper calling it an “instant classic.” In terms of 2021 Oscars, nominations in Best Picture and Best Orginal Screenplay are automatic. Best Director for Sorkin also seems likely. In the acting categories, depending on how Netflix possessions each actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, Redmayne, Rylance, Abdul-Mateen II, and Strong will be considered in either Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor.

The Trial of the Chicago Seven is only one of the Oscar-hopeful films that Netflix has at its disposal. There is a world where Netflix could receive five Best Picture nominations with five established and well-respected directors behind each film. Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloodswill be in the mix due to its critical acclaim. Later this year, Netflix will release Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom from George C. Wolfe, Hillbilly Elegy from Ron Howard, and Mank from David Fincher, who hasn’t made a feature film since 2014’s Gone Girl. If there’s ever a time for Netlfix to win Best Picture, it’s this year.

Other News And Notes

-There have only been five female directors to receive a nomination for Best Director and only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has won the award. At the 2021 Oscars, there could be not one, but two women nominated for Best Director. They are Chloe Zhao for Nomadland and Regina King for One Night in Miami. Nomadland, based on the novel about a woman traveling as a modern-day nomad starring Frances McDormand, recently won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The last three films to win that prize were Joker, Roma, and The Shape of Water. All three films were nominated for Best Picture and Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro won Best Director for Roma and The Shape of Water, respectively) so history is on Zhao’s side.

The other film, Regina King’s One Night in Miami, revolves around a fictional meeting between Jim Brown, Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, and Sam Cooke in a Miami hotel room in 1964. The film premiered to positive reviews, praising King’s directorial debut. King, an Oscar and Emmy winner, would be the first black female to be nominated for Best Director.

-Speaking of Netflix, the streaming service acquired Pieces of a Woman, a drama about a couple who must face their midwife after she loses their baby and faces criminal negligence. The performance that drew the most buzz was from Vanessa Kirby, who plays the grieving mother that must navigate fractured relationships with her husband, mother, and midwife. Kirby’s performances have been hailed the “performance of her career” by Variety. Expect a huge campaign from Netflix to elevate Kirby into the Best Actress category.

-Will I ever see Tenet?

Which film from Netflix has the best chance of winning Best Picture? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

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